A Customary Court sitting in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State has dissolved a 30-year old marriage between ASP Christopher Udoh and Comfort Sylvester on grounds of threat to life.
The Plaintiff, a 54-year Old Police Officer who hails from Ikot Odiong Itukho in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area had dragged her wife (defendant) , a native of Ikot Obio Attai Itam,Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State
before the Court for dissolution of their customary marriage on grounds of ill-treatment, lack of love, constant fighting, unfaithfulness, indiscriminate use of vulgar language on the plaintiff and family and failure to supply conjugal right.
Udoh had told the court that if the Union is not dissolved, he may be forced to kill himself.
In his preliminary ruling in the case with suit number WIDC 13-2020, the Chairman of the Customary Court, Barr David Udofa ruled that the Plaintiff did not deny having extramarital affairs, and that the Plaintiff did not deny shooting the defendant and also refusing conjugal right to the defendant for two years.
The Chairman of the Court ruled that the plaintiff is liable on some issues and that the defendant needs to settle down to start a new life.
Barr Udofa ruled that ” The Court believes that this marriage had broken down irreparably. The Plaintiff had told the court : I will kill myself if we don’t dissolve this marriage “.
In his judgement, the Chairman of the Court granted the divorce effective from October 5, 2020.
The Court granted the defendant the possession of the Family House of which the plaintiff shall be allowed access to remove his personal property on application to the Court.
The Court ordered that pending the decision of the family Court, the children will remain with the mother and shall be entitled funds for upkeep from the plaintiff.
During the first sitting on 20th July 2020 and second sitting on September, 7, 2020, the defendant had narrated that problem started in the family in 2015 when the husband according to her abandoned her and the children to distant work without financial support leaving her to struggle as the breadwinner even when she was forced by the husband to focus on playing the role of a house wife.
She narrated ” He abandoned us and I struggled to pay the fees of my children. That was when I had to join politics to get money to take care of the family because he stopped me from working.
” I am a trained nurse. I later opened a chemist shop but since he left us to Kogi State, we focused entirely on the shop for our sustenance. Sadly, the Shop crumbled because of pressure. I had to start working in the farm.
” Fortunately, I later had contract which I later used to take care of the family. The worse started in 2017 when I became tired with my husband’s extramarital affairs. “
She alleged that the husband was dating another woman adding that the relationship is almost as old as her marriage. She said the relationship became a problem to her when her husband started bringing the woman to her matrimonial home anytime she and the children are not around.
The Defendant noted that she warned the husband about it but he did not turn a new leave even as the woman was married to her cousin.
She narrated that it became unbearable to her when she discovered that the woman was the one who stayed with his husband at the hospital when he was sick even without the knowledge of family members.
The Defendant said she was then moved to confront the woman but the woman rather said she has tried making her husband leave her but the man threatened that if she leaves, he will kill her.
She added ” The problem took a new twist when in 2017, during the fight between Oku Iboku with Ikot Offiong that my husband stayed there for three weeks without coming home and did not also care about the welfare of his children.
” It was one day that he said that his tenant has paid N50,000. A day after, he came home and I took care of him. He wanted to leave again, I asked him for money for upkeep of the House. He replied that there was no money and that he had used the money to settle debt.
” I asked why he would be more concerned about himself than his family. I held him and did not allow him to go anywhere. The next thing, he said he will kill me and nobody will do anything even my family.
” When I went outside, the next thing I heard was a gunshot. I did not feel pain instantly but I later saw blood gushing out of my leg. I became weak and fell to the ground. I asked ‘ Ufan, you shot me?’ He replied that he will shoot me again”.
The Defendant narrated that the case was taken to several police Divisions and Area Command which she pleaded that the husband should be released and the case was later treated as a family matter.
She narrated that the reason she accepts the petition for the divorce is based on the fact that the plaintiff after being released from nine days detention had threatened her life that he will do worse.
The Defendant said she will accept the call for divorce because of the threat to her life.
The 30-year old union was blessed with five Children aged 28, 26, 21, 15 and 6.