President of an Ado Ekiti Customary Court, Mr. Joseph Ogunsemi, has dissolved the marriage between a businessman, Muyiwa Owolabi, 42, and his wife Tinuola, 40, over ‘Facebook adultery’. The couple had been in the marriage for 11 years, with two children, aged 7 and 11.
Muyiwa had filed a petition before the court, accusing his wife of serial adultery and sexual escapades. He tendered evidence including a Nokia C3 phone with which the respondent was alleged to be communicating with lovers, and also printouts of pictures and text messages exchanged with the men in question.
He also accused his wife of lack of care for their two children. He added that she was using social media to connect with different men, after which he tendered computer-generated evidence of her conversation with lovers, urging the court to dissolve the union.
But Tinuola, in her defence, accused Muyiwa of beating and starving her, as well as promiscuity, alleging that he seized her phone on “mere suspicion.” She also denied amorous relationships with the men she was alleged to be going out with, while urging the court to dissolve the union.
Delivering his judgment, court President Joseph Ogunsemi held that from the available evidence before the jury and the fact that both parties were living apart, the union had broken down “irretrievably.” The court held that the issue of adultery was overwhelming given the evidence tendered by the petitioner.
The court also granted the custody of the children to Muyiwa, holding that from evidence adduced by the petitioner, he was adjudged to be in a better position to take care of the two children. He cited Section 21 (1) of the Customary law of Ekiti State, Ogunsemi saying the court was duty-bound to examine evidence of who would take care of the children better among the two parties most, especially if the children in contention are yet to reach the age of eighteen.
The court held that the respondent, Tinuola, is yet to find her feet in terms of accommodation and gainful employment hence the custody of the children could not be awarded to her. He also ruled that the upkeep and education of the children must be shouldered by Muyiwa.
The court also ruled that the respondent cannot be denied access to the children as they will be free to spend part of their holidays with her.
Ogunsemi, however, concluded that either of the parties dissatisfied with the court verdict is free to file an appeal within 30 days of delivery of the judgment.