By Babatunde Ayedoju
A middle aged police man, Olajide Ogundipe stunned people at an Akure Customary Court recently when he disclosed that he was tired of his marriage to his wife because she was in the habit of assaulting him .
His words: “I endured the union because I love my children so much. I have been nurturing them right from when they were still very small. I don’t want my children to suffer in life the way I suffered. Therefore, I want the best for them. Their welfare is paramount to me.”
Those were the words of Olajide Ogundipe, a policeman, before a Customary Court sitting in Akure, Ondo state capital.
The law enforcement agent, whose relationship of about six years with Bosede Akinwalere had gone sour over her penchant for domestic violence and adultery, told the court that he had been forthcoming in his responsibilities towards his family. According to Ogundipe, his wife and her children were living in a house owned by his friend who resides outside Nigeria. He added that Akinwalere did not pay rent because the owner only needed her to ensure that the house was well maintained. She was also saddled with the responsibility of collecting rent from the other tenants and remitting it to the landlord’s bank account.
Ogundipe, in his testimony before the court, added that on several occasions when he and his wife quarreled, she bit him, leaving marks on various parts of his body, which he promised to show the children in future as part of proof of his love and what he had suffered to take care of them.
He added that at a point, some family members of his friend who owns the house occupied by Akinwalere falsely accused him of syphoning the rents that Akinwalere collected from the other tenants in the house. Ogundipe claimed that he spent some days in detention over the matter, until his friend abroad sent a bank statement to prove that all the monies collected were duly remitted, thus nullifying the false allegation that was leveled against him.
Ogundipe told the court that after he parted ways with Akinwalere and a grade B court gave him custody of two out of the three sons his estranged wife had for him, he took them to his sister in Ilesa, Osun State, saying that the children were well catered for and he was sending money regularly as mandated by the court. Ogundipe told the court he felt that it was better to keep the children with his sister in Ilesa than to let them be with his new wife in Akure. Unfortunately, his estranged wife took over custody of the children when they came to Akure in December.
He told the court that before then, his former wife was fond of bringing those two children to his office to complain about him, an action he said he was not comfortable with, considering the nature of his job as a policeman. He added that even his superior officer was not comfortable with that and advised against it.
In her own submission, Bosede Akinwalere told the court that she had three children, all boys for Ogundipe. She said that when they parted ways, she admitted that she did not have the means of taking care of the children. Therefore, the husband was granted custody of two of them, leaving only the youngest with her.
Akinwalere, however, lamented that her former husband took the children to his sister in Ilesa who has no children. She claimed that she was thereafter denied access to the children. Akinwalere explained to the court that by the time the children were brought to Akure in December, they had grown very lean and looked unkempt. She said that, not being able to withstand the condition in which she met her children, she had to take over their custody.
She said that she was not comfortable in the first place with Ogundipe’s decision to take the children to his sister in Ilesa, alleging that the husband of her sister-in-law once assaulted her. She added that even Ogundipe had led some of his colleagues to harass her, claiming that she still had some scars from such encounters.
Akinwalere added that contrary to the claims made by Ogundipe, he had not been sending money regularly to her account. She said that he only sent money on few occasions.
To resolve that, the court ordered Ogundipe to pay N2,000 into Akinwalere’s bank account, so that she can obtain a statement of account that would resolve the argument on that.
Akinwalere further told the court that she had been faithful to Ogundipe whom she accused of adultery. She said, “Since we both separated, I have not been involved with another man. In fact, when a man very close to my shop was trying to propose to me, I told Ogundipe to be visiting regularly, so that the sight of him would scare the other man away. The major problem I have with him is adultery. Also, the education of my children is paramount. He should make it a priority.”
At this point, the matter took on a funny twist, with Ogundipe almost hugging Akinwalere.
Ogundipe claimed that he still loved Akinwalere, stating that he wanted a reconciliation. He said, “she has a good spirit. I noticed that when I give her any amount of money, within a short period, one miracle or the other will happen.”
Ogundipe asked the court to prevail on Akinwalere to be patient with him, stating that he had some financial constraints but would fulfill his financial obligations.
The court, led by Mrs. J. O. Wewe, ruled that though the mother is in a better position to take care of the children, since a court already granted the father custody of two out of the children, due process should be followed for the mother to take them into her custody.
The court further encouraged the duo to explore the option of reconciliation. In line with the financial obligations of the husband, the court ruled that he should pay at least N30,000 to the wife’s account before the next appearance date.
The case was adjourned till July 3, 2023 for report of compliance.
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