Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Rising Spate of Divorce in Nigeria: A-way out

By Okechukwu Onuegbu
Some years back, marriage was a sacred and legal institution; between a mature man and a woman who may have divergent views about life but have deemed it fit to live as husband and wife as a result of love.
Then, even though some married more than one wife, yet there was less battery, infidelity and less divorce which was in  compliance with the biblical injunction of “till death do us apart” as enshrined in the books of Genesis 2:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-4; Matthew 5:31-32; Malachi 2:6/7 and Proverbs 31:10-31.
In primeval Africa precisely, marriage was so reverenced, as married couples were cherished and viewed to be most responsible people in their society. Their advice was sort for at their families and public functions while the bachelors and spinsters were viewed as less responsible, so to speak.
Expectedly, it was not uncommon to see couples below 18 years who enjoyed “honeymoon” till death old age, although most of them were historically betrothed to their spouses by their parents. A-Lagos State based Lawyer, Mrs. Yemi Ajayi, remarked that marriage then was a worthwhile venture among traditional religionists, Christians and Muslims.
However, the modern era marked the end of an epoch in marriage institution. Subsequently, it now changed in nature and definition transforming into diverse categories such as gay marriage, multiple wedding, co-habitation, white wedding, and court wedding, among others. What an awful world!
But here, we shall focus on divorce and broken homes in Nigeria. The spate of divorce in Nigeria soared as high as an eagle in recent time. A situation whereby a man and a woman tie the knot before God and man today and opt for disillusion in the court next day despite expenses and publicity therein, amidst infidelity, misunderstanding, suspicion and battery.
Recent research shows that there are pending cases of divorce in various courts in Nigeria. Sequel to this, legal practitioners in Lagos state decried the high rate of divorce in the country attributing it to intolerance, infidelity and battery. Also, a Marriage Counselor,   Mrs. Taiwo Olanrewaju postulated that marriage institution is gradually falling in the country due to increase in the number of dissolved marriages recoded annually in the courts.
Similarly, Pastor Ifeanyi (other details withheld by us) is my Landlord who doubles as a Pastor/G.O. of one of the Pentecostal Churches in Anambra state has divorced two wives and might send the third one parking any moment from now, as he brutalizes her daily. In the same resident of mine, an estate of 44 rooms and over 80 individuals, about 80% of the occupants are divorcees; while others change boyfriends and girlfriends as clothing.
Worst still, the high-rate of “Men of God” divorcee among whom are Pastor Chris Okotie of Household of God Church (2 wives already gone); Pastor John Hagee, the Founder of Charistmatic Trinity Church also sent away his wife of 2 kids and remarried a member of his congregation.
Last year, 2013 also witnessed ungodly termination of marriage of one Pastor Ope Balogun, a-Lagos based “man of God” who was quoted to have divorced Nine Wives calling each “a trouble woman”; but the most funniest of all, perhaps is that Bishop David Benecoch, the Founder of Communion Church, Lagos who claimed that God instructed him to break-up with his “union” of 20 years; including the LATE Pastor Philip Mokungah (founder of Oasis Church in Plateau state); among others so numerous to mention. Are you sure yours is not a divorcee? Look well, he might be, a-Living Faith Church Pastor once told me he might terminate his 10 years old marriage alleging his wife affects his spiritual growth!!!
In the same vein, Nigerian Business moguls, Celebrities, Movie Stars, Top-Entertainers, Politicians of “good reputation” made the list of divorcees; as Governor Sullivan Chime (of Enugu state); Ifeanyi Ararume Jnr. (son of Senator Ararume of Imo state); Chief Kessington Adebutu popularly known as “Baba Ijebu”; Chigozie, Son of Paschal Dozie of Diamond Group are “well experienced blessed divorcees”.
Similarly, Gbenga, the son of ex-President Obasanjo who disowned his wife, Moji in 2006; just as daughters of Nigeria’s former Military Dictators, Zainab Abacha and Aishat Babangida respectively walked-away from their heartthrobs believed to was cemented by their parents.
Also, the infamous endless list has movie stars and entertainers such as Pastor Ure Okezie, Rita Dominic, Soul E, Jennifer Eliogu, Doris Simeon, Daniel Ademinoka, Moses, Benjamin, Bukky Wright, Ayo Adesanya among others.  
Looking at these and many more, can we now conclude that “awesome” disillusion of marriage have been enshrined in our constitution, religious doctrines or Holy-scriptures?
But what causes divorce in Nigeria? Are we cursed or the cause? The issues precipitating broken homes in Nigeria are not unconnected to quest for materialism, marrying to beat-up with the age or mates/peer groups influences or for material/economic reasons, sexual satisfactions, women emancipation ideology, sexual apathy/dissatisfaction, third parties intrusion on what God has joined together, provocation, brutalization, suspicions/mistrust, infidelity and barrenness.
According to a marriage Counsellor, Dr. Eunice Iheanacho and some Lagos state based Lawyers: “today’s married couples are full of impatient, pride, lack of understanding and compatibility.”
However, it is worthy to note that the social effects of divorce cannot be overestimated as researchers have unanimously agreed that one divorce breeds another in a similar way trading of words often instigates fight. Hence, you hardly see a broken home who ever enjoyed a happy home without divorcing again and again.
Similarly, borrowing a leaf from the movies we watched and the various happenings around us, one would discover that parted couples are prone to poor concentration, loss of job, drug addiction, smoking, prostitution, sickness, suicide or untimely death.
Consequently, children of the affected homes may constitute miscreants, as they involve in social vices, hawking, begging and impertinent or unruly behaviour sequel to lack of parental love and care.
In view of this, couples are implored to show mutual understanding and tolerance to each other, even as a Lawyer, Vincent Nwana enjoined customary and magistrate courts to exhibit a level of discretion in handling divorce cases as a way of reducing it to the barest minimum in the country.
But it is imperative for the public to be sensitized on the need to embrace court marriage as it involves some rigours of procedures before termination could be achieved. Similarly, parents, religious and educational institutions, guardians and counsellors, experts, human rights activists, governmental and non-governmental organizations should constantly organize marriage seminars for couples, bachelors and spinsters with a view to inculcating the rudiment of love and true lessons of marriage into them.          



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