An Alimosho Grade 'B' Customary Court, sitting in Iyana Ipaya, a Lagos suburb, has dissolved a 10-year-old marriage between a pastor and a primary school teacher who had been feuding for months over the disposal of their baby's placenta.
The court president, Mrs. Abigail Olatunji, in her judgement observed that the marriage had broken down irretrievably, and subsequently dissolved it.
Layi Oyegbemi, a pastor who lectures at a Bible College, Lagos, had sued his wife, Folake, accusing her of disrespect, troublesomeness and unfaithfulness.
During the trial, Folake, a 35-year-old primary school teacher shocked the audience when she told the court that her husband's action towards the disposal of their baby's placenta was suspicious.
"He kept our daughter's placenta in the house for four days before I saw it. When I arrived home from the hospital, the whole room was stinking. So I decided to search the house to know where the odour was coming from. I then stumbled on the nylon containing the placenta. I threw it (the placenta) into the pit latrine before he came back from that place he calls his workplace," Folake stated.
According to her, the improper disposition of the placenta by her husband was the genesis of their impasse.
Both parties had, however, consented to the dissolution of the marriage, but custody of their nine-year-old daughter, Faith, was an issue that had to be resolved by the court, the major reason for the divorce suit, filed before the court by Layi against his wife of 10 years.
Layi had asked the court to grant him custody of their daughter, Faith Oyegbemi.
The petitioner said he wanted the custody of his daughter because, according to him, Faith does not want to stay with her mother's parents again.
He added, "On several occasions, the girl had been emotional and had always shown her preference to go with me whenever I visited."
He, however, stated that he would have had custody of the girl, but because he wanted her to attain a certain age and educational standard. He added that both the respondent and her father had told him on several occasions that if he wanted his daughter, they would gladly let her go.
"I am, however, surprised at the turn of events now. The mother of my daughter had told me about 11times that she would willingly hand her over. Last Easter celebration, my father-in-law told me that if I wanted custody of my daughter, he would willingly hand her over since I have always been responsible for her upkeep," he said.
In her defence, Folake said she got married to her husband in November 1999 after courting for three-months. The marriage was blessed with a baby girl, exactly nine months into the marriage, which lasted for one year and six months, before they eventually separated on April 29, 2001.
She urged the court not to grant the custody of their daughter to her husband because, according to her, the petitioner is untruthful, irresponsible and may want to harm their daughter, considering the late disposal of her placenta.
"My parents sponsored our wedding. He does not go to church. He is just an honorary pastor. When I was to register for ante-natal, he was always giving excuses until I had to register on my own with my money. When I put to bed, my father called him to go and dispose the placenta, suggesting that if he could not get space to bury the placenta around, he could come to our house to bury it there," she added.
She also alleged that Layi had called her on several occasions to come along with him to swear to an oath.
Layi, however, countered her testimony, describing it as figment of her imagination. He said he has been responsible for the child's upkeep and school fees, alleging that his wife and her father are the dangerous species not him.
He also stated that he had been under intense pressures from his in-laws for which reasons he forgot to bury the placenta on the day of delivery.
"I would have actually buried the placenta the next day, but the disturbance from her side was too much. So, I had to inquire from my people at home who told me that my in-laws did not need the placenta for anything. And that I should not give them," he said.
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