An Akure Magistrate Court has condemned a specific aspect of Igbo tradition as barbaric, evil, and contrary to divine principles. This practice restricts a father’s access to his children based on his failure to fulfill the bride price payment to the wife’s family.
It said: “The custom that tends to punish one person when two consenting adults are involved in the act is nothing but the highest element of insensitivity and servitude…..CONTINUE READING HERE
Magistrate Segun Stephen Rotiba delivered a verdict in the legal dispute involving Prophet Theophilus Obayan and his estranged wife, Prophetess Chibuzor Lilian.
Prophet Obayan, of Yoruba descent, and his estranged wife, originally from Abia State, were the leaders of the Divine Prophetic Solutions Prayers Ministry in Ladipo, Lagos State.
Prophetess Chibuzor chose to marry one of Prophet Obayan’s spiritual sons, Abua Obi and changed her children’s last name to Obi. In response, Obayan filed a divorce suit, citing the name change of his children to her lover’s name as one of the reasons.
He also asked the court to dissolve their 23-year-long marriage due to allegations of disobedience, misunderstandings, falsehoods, manipulation, abuse, hatred, and anger. Prophet Obayan contested the removal of his four children by a member of his church and sought to regain their paternity, as well as gain custody of the children.
In his ruling, Magistrate Rotiba dissolved the marriage on the grounds that both parties had lost interest in the union. He also granted Obayan’s request to regain custody of his four children.
Magistrate Rotiba pointed out that the Respondent had indicated during cross-examination that, according to Igbo tradition, since the Petitioner had not paid her bride price, her new husband, who had paid it, had the right to have the children bear his name.
According to him: “In the same breathe, I find the Igbo custom exuded by the respondent and her witnesses that the children of the union can bear Mr Abua Obi as their surname, atavistic, barbaric, evil, ungodly, irrational, unsensational, crass, gross, crude, unwary, provocative, ungodly, discriminatory and insensible.
“The custom that tends to punish one person when two consenting adults are involved in the act is nothing but the highest element of insensitivity and servitude.
“I condemn this custom in the strongest terms. While the matter was on, a publication was made on February 2, 2023 in Vanguard newspapers, changing the surname of the first two children of the parties to Abua Obi
“Aside the fact that complicit to change the surname of the first two children has been establishqed against the Respondent, it also amounts to subjudice as no action is expected to be taken on the subject matter by whoever, when the matter is pending before the Court.
“This is a complete affront to the Court. I say no more. In conclusion, the Court hereby dissolves the union between the parties, having broken down irretrievably.
“The Court, hereby declares personal non grata, the custom of the Respondent awarding paternal personality to a man who is not the biological father of the children.
“The Court hereby invalidates and render null and void the publication changing the surname of the 1st and 2nd children from Obayan to Abua Obi.
“The Court also invalidates any other publication or whatsoever changing the surname of the Children from Obayan to Abua Obi during the pendency of this case…..CONTINUE READING HERE