Court declares 22-year-old marriage illegal over non-payment of dowry

The supposed 22-year-old marriage of one Joshua Ajagunigbala and Rita Ajagunigbala has been declared illegal by an Ekiti State Customary Court sitting in Ado Ekiti because payment of dowry was not involved in the union.

The President of the Court, Mr Joseph Oyedele while declaring judgment in the matter between the divorce-aeeking lovers held that there was no legal customary marriage between the two of them, adding that they are free to go their separate ways.

He said, “Having gone through all the oral evidence presented before this court, it was discovered that there was no legal customary marriage between parties herein and there is no marriage available between parties to dissolve.

“The court hereby order that the parties are now free to go on their own without disturbing the peace of each other.”

The Court ordered, the petitioner, Mr Ajagunigbala, to take full responsibility of the welfare and education of the last two children the union produced because they are still minor.

“On the issue of the custody of the children, the court can only order on the last two children of the marriage because they are yet to reach the age of majority. The first two children are free to decide under whose they can live between the two parties because they are no longer minor.

“However, the Court order that the last two children of the association (Olarewaju and Victoria Ajagunigbala) are to be with the petitioner and the petitioner is to be responsible for their welfare and education.”

A popular herbalist, Kehinde Fadayomi, also known as ‘Ejiogbe’ had in January 2023 died after he allegedly had a sex with Mrs Rita Ajagunigbala in a hotel in Ikere-Ekiti.

The petitioner, Mr Ajagunigbala, during the hearing prayed the court to dissolve the union on the ground of adultery and the custody of his children be given to him.

“The petitioner gave evidence that he had not paid the dowry of the respondent and they had both lived together for more than 22 years.

“The petitioner informed the court this case will be the third time he had taken her to court on the ground of adultery. He equally gave an evidence that the respondent in 2017 started having an illicit affair with a herbalist called Ifidayomi AKA Ejiogbe who is now late.

“He gave evidence on how the man died on the respondent while having an intercourse at an Hotel in Ikere-Ekiti on 2nd of January, 2023 which led to a commotion which made thugs to destroy his house and his church at Ikere and he was equally suspended by his church authority and because of this, he is no longer interested in the association and he pleaded with the court to dissolve the association and he wanted the custody of his children be given to him.”

Mrs Ajagunigbala who is the respondent, admitted having sexual relationship with the late herbalist but the claim denied of sexual relationship with the church interpreter.

“She admitted that her relationship with the said man was because of lack of care from the petitioner. She said she had been the one responsible for the feeding of the children and their schools. She said she had incurred so many debts which was offset for her by Ejiogbe.”

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