‘My husband has starved me, our children enough, he should give us N50,000 monthly for food’

Grade A Customary Court, Mapo, Ibadan, Oyo State recently heard the evidence of a couple, Ronke Eke and John Eke, after the former brought a divorce suit against the latter on the grounds of irresponsibility, constant beating and abandonment. The plaintiff told the court that the defendant hardly gave her and their children feeding allowance throughout the time they lived together.

According to her, the few times he did, he gave only N2,000 for a whole week.

Ronke further stated that John was negligent of their children’s education which made her enroll their first born in school, while the second child was put under apprenticeship. The plaintiff added that they were always ejected from the houses they lived in because they always presented themselves a nuisance before their landlords and neighbours as a result of constant fight.

Ronke told the court John was in the habit of beating her to a pulp anytime they fought.

All these she stated informed her decision to move out of his house.

According to the plaintiff, the defendant had not deemed it fit to check on their children nor had he given her money for their upkeep.

She thus pleaded with the court to end their relationship and grant her custody of their children.

She further appealed to the court to make her husband responsible for their upkeep, education and medical attention.

John pleaded not liable to the charges brought against him. He told the court his predicament stated when he had a wound on his leg which took some time to heal.

According to him, the sore which he believed wasn’t ordinary, made him to be incapacitated and therefore unable to work.

The defendant stated that he got a job in Lagos after the plaintiff left him, but that she always frustrated all his efforts to reach her and their children on the telephone.

Ronke giving her testimony said, “My husband and I met through one of his friends living in my neighbourhood and we started dating.

“He impregnated me a few months into our relationship and requested that I moved in with him when the pregnancy was three months old.

“We didn’t hold a wedding ceremony neither did he pay dowry to my parents.

“John was caring and loving early in our marriage. I was contented being married to him despite not having much to live on. He possessed all that I wanted in a man.

“The first eight months of our wedlock was blissful till he suddenly changed.

“I started noticing a change in his behaviour and the most worrisome was his aggressiveness.

“My husband would become fierce when he was angry and beat me blue black.

“We often changed houses because we were always regarded as nuisance due to our frequent fights. My husband would beat and almost kill me.

“Our landlords in particular and neighbours always got fed up with us as a result of our regular fights which often resulted in our compound being rowdy and property damaged.

“One of the night guards monitoring our area once came to my rescue after John beat me to a state of coma in the middle of the night. He rushed me to my parents that night.

“I moved out of his house after this, but went back after my parents mediated in our differences.

“I went spiritual and held prayers so that my husband could change, but to my disappointment, he grew worse.

“I packed all my belongings and walked out of our marriage when it became obvious he was going to kill me.”

She added: “My husband was negligent of our children’s welfare while we were with him. He hardly gave us feeding allowance. The few times he did, he gave us just N2,000 to feed for a week.

“The more I complain the more unreasonable he became.

“John never displayed interest in our children’s education. He never gave room for discussion on this.

“I enrolled our first and second children in school, but later withdrew the latter from school to learn a trade when I couldn’t afford the fees for both.”

Ronke further stated thus: “My lord, my husband has never checked on our children since I left him. Neither has he given me a dime for their upkeep.

“I pray the court to rule that he gives our children N50,000 per month as feeding allowance and be responsible for their education, especially now that our second child is insisting on going back to school.

“Our eldest child’s school fee for the new term is N38,000. I’m yet to confirm that of others.

“I want my husband to tell the court how he planned to pay the school fees because I don’t want them sent back home from school.”

John in his response said: “My lord, I am not the son of the president. I, therefore, can’t afford the N50,000 my wife is demanding for food.

“The most I can afford is N4,000 per week, making it therefore N16,000 per month. I can’t stretch myself beyond that.

“All that my wife said was an exaggeration. She knows I don’t joke with our children’s welfare.

“We had a smooth relationship, but she suddenly changed after I had a leg injury which I considered not ordinary and I was incapacitated for months.

“She started going out at will during this period and would always return home late.

“Ronke rubbed shoulders with me in the home, while I reminded her I was the boss.

“She refused that I had rest of mind till she moved out of my house.

“I got a job after I was healed of my wound which required staying out of town.

“She knows the days I am off duty and in town. But unfortunately any time I called her on the phone to see her and our children, she would either refuse to pick my call or speak to me rudely.

“I can’t have her account number since she is not speaking to me, which is the reason I have not been giving our children money for food.

“My lord, I want my wife to come back to me so that we can join hands in raising our children.

“But if she is insisting on divorce, then let it be.

“Ronke can have custody of our children, but I insist that we are going to share the payment of their school fees equally and this applies to their other demands, since she would certainly benefit more from the children when they are grown up and doing fine.”

The court president, Mrs S.M Akintayo, adjourned the case till December 5 for judgment.