Tuesday, January 5

'Unemployment crashing Nigerians' marriages'

'Unemployment crashing Nigerians' marriages'

A cross section of Nigerians have decried the alarming rate of break-up of marriages in the society as shown in divorce cases in customary courts.

The stakeholders, who spoke to News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in separate interviews, expressed sadness over the development, noting that the Nigerian family system was fast degenerating into fragmented society.

Investigation by NAN at two customary courts in Mapo, Ibadan, Oyo State, revealed that between January 2014 and December 2015, no fewer than 500 divorce suits were filed out of which 468 of the marriages were dissolved.

Speaking on the development, Chief Ademola Odunade, Presiding President of one of the customary courts, identified high rate of unemployment in the country among factors responsible for broken homes.

He explained that most of the divorce cases in the courts were as a result of the inability of the man, the head of the family, to cater for his wife and children.

The judge advised that spouse should always learn to revert to the old practice of using intermediary who could easily mediate when marital crises arose rather than seeking dissolution of their union in court.

Another Ibadan based customary court president and a community leader, Mr Henric Agbaje, said that fading culture of payment of bride price and dowry was responsible for collapse in marriages.

Agbaje explained that though men at that time had many wives because of the nature of their occupation (farming), they still cohabited peacefully and displayed sincerity and tolerance.

The jurist identified disintegration of cultural and family values occasioned by modern trends as among the factors for the high rate of divorce.

In her contribution, Miss Toibat Oladele, a divorcee, noted that investigating one's spouse thoroughly during courtship was imperative to a successful marriage.

Another divorcee, a banker, who identified herself simply as Morayo, said that her marriage lasted for just 18 months when she quitted.

Some other divorcees who spoke on condition of anonymity identified infidelity, irresponsibility, negligence, distrust and sexual starvation among the reasons for the break in their marriages.

Mr Mojeed Adeleke, a regular observer of divorce cases at Mapo Customary Courts, said that old spouses who were supposed to be good examples to newly married ones were not doing any better, judging from cases in the courts.

Adeleke frowned at the high rate of divorce cases involving couples in their late 60s and 70s.

He noted that in most cases, the unions had reached four to five decades with their children already grown up and even married. Professor Adeniyi Olatunbosun, the Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan, said the high rate of marriage dissolutions arose from social problems such as bad economy and intolerable attitudes. He said government should address the challenge of high rate of unemployment in the society to reduce divorce and encourage blissful marriages.

Professor Julius Ademokoya, also of the University of Ibadan, said that cultural, attitudinal and lack of proper understanding of what marriage is all about contributed to the high rate of marriage break up in the society.

Ademokoya, a rehabilitation counsellor, advised would-be couples to always understudy themselves properly and iron out all issues before embarking on the lifelong journey called marriage.

Mr Kolawole Oyerinde, an Ibadan based lawyer, said s that at least five divorce cases were filed daily at the Oyo State High Court.

Another expert, Professor Oka Obono, Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, CEPACS, University of Ibadan, explained that the context of modern industrial society was largely responsible for setbacks in marriages.

Obono said many marriages crumbled owing to constant mobility occasioned by transfer at work which created disharmony among couples.

The sociologist counseled that couples should imbibe the culture of patience and moral accountability.

Mr Dotun Odebode, an Ibadan based pastor, blamed the rising divorce cases on the refusal of couples to allow God to decide for them through fervent prayers.

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