A 41-year-old mother of seven, Rachael Olayiwola, on Tuesday in Lagos had her 21-year-old marriage dissolved on religious grounds.
Rachael had reneged on her promise to convert to her husband’s faith shortly after their marriage, and instead, turned to a prophetess.
The Igando Customary Court’s President, Mr Akin Akinniyi, who ordered the dissolution of the marriage, said the court had no alternative than to dissolve the marriage as efforts by the court and family to reconcile the couple had failed.
“Since the petitioner (Rabiu Olayiwola) insisted on divorce after several interventions, the court is, therefore, left with no option than to grant him his wish and pronounce the union dissolved.
“The court hereby pronounces the marriage between Mr Rabiu Olayiwola and Mrs Rachael Olayiwola dissolved.
“Both of you, henceforth, cease to be husband and wife; you should go your separate ways unmolested,” he said.
He added: “The court wishes both of you well in your new journey of life.
“The first two children, who are above 18 years, should decide who to stay with while the last five children who are below 18 years are to live with their mother.
“The petitioner is to pay N25,000 monthly for the feeding of the five children and he also to be responsible for the children’s school fees and medical bills.
“A severance of N350,000 only is awarded to the Rachael as rehabilitation cost and Rabiu is also to pay N350,000 for accommodation to his estranged wife yearly.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Rabiu, 48, an Islamic cleric, had approached the court to terminate his marriage to Rachael, who had turned a prophetess.
Olayiwola had told the court that prior to their marriage, Rachael had agreed to abandon her Christian religion for Islamic faith.
“But three years ago, she now told me that God has asked her to return to her former religion and become a prophetess.
“I cannot accept that under my roof; it is either she comes back to my faith or I send her packing through dissolution of the marriage.
“The annoying thing is that she does not go to her church alone but takes the children along.
“Now the Central Mosque Association Committee vowed to remove me as an Imam if my wife refused to return as a Muslim,” Rabiu said.
The petitioner testified that his wife was in the habit of fighting him and did not respect him.
“Rachael lacks respect for me; she once hit my head on the wall, gave me punches on my face and also tore my praying garment,” he said.
According to him, Rachael defamed his character by accusing me of an attempt to use two of our children for money rituals.
Olayiwola told the court that he stopped sleeping with his wife because she refused to use the family planning ring he gave her.
However, the 41-year-old Rachael told the court that her husband wanted to use two of the children for rituals.
“My husband came home with a herbalist, who gave me black soap from a black pot and some leaves that I should bathe with them at 1:00am.
“The herbalist said I should call the names of my first born and the last born and I should also touch them with the items to bring victory and riches to my husband.
“After the herbalist and my husband left, I received a prophecy not to use any black substance and that if I use it, I will cry. So I discarded all the items given to me and prayed at 1:00am.”
She said she agreed to practice her husband’s religion, adding that she practiced it for 18 years before God called her to work for Him in the church and she could not disobey God.
The mother of seven said that her husband had denied her of sex for over two years.
She said that after their sixth child, her husband gave her a ring which he said would prevent her from getting pregnant.
“I actually wore the ring but the ring failed. After having the seventh child, he just abandoned me and refused to touch me let alone make love to me.”
Rachael admitted punching her husband in self-defence when they fought, adding that he used to grab her neck, attempting to strangle her.
She urged the court not to grant her husband’s request for the dissolution of the marriage, claiming she had no accommodation and could not leave her children.