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Court Rules: 22-Year Marriage Invalid Over Non-Payment of Dowry

Court Rules: 22-Year Marriage Invalid Over Non-Payment of Dowry

An Ekiti State Customary Court located in Ado Ekiti has ruled that the alleged 22-year marriage between Rita and Joshua Ajagunigbala is invalid because no dowry was paid for the wedding.

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The divorce-seeking lovers’ case was decided by the President of the Court, Mr. Joseph Oyedele, who ruled that there was no legal customary marriage between them and added that they were free to pursue their own lives.

“Having gone through all the oral evidence submitted before this court, it was found that there was no valid customary marriage between the parties herein, therefore there is no marriage between the parties that can be dissolved,” he added. The parties are now free to leave on their own without upsetting one another, the court rules.

The Court ruled that because the final two children of the relationship are still minors, the petitioner, Mr. Ajagunigbala, must assume entire responsibility for their welfare and education.

“Due to the fact that the final two children of the marriage have not yet reached the age of majority, the court can only make custody decisions about those two children. The first two children, who are no longer minors, are allowed to choose between the two parties as to who they can live with.

However, the Court ordered that Victoria Ajagunigbala and Olarewaju, the association’s final two children, be  with the petitioner and the petitioner is to be responsible for their welfare and education.”

Kehinde Fadayomi, better known as “Ejiogbe,” a well-known herbalist, passed away in January 2023 after allegedly having sex with Mrs. Rita Ajagunigbala in a hotel in Ikere, Ekiti.

During the hearing, the petitioner, Mr. Ajagunigbala, requested that the court divorce the marriage due to adultery and grant him custody of his children.

“The petitioner provided proof that he had not given the respondent’s dowry despite the fact that they had been living together for over 22 years.

“The petitioner informed the court that this was his third attempt to bring her to justice for adultery. He also provided proof that the respondent began an unlawful relationship with a herbalist named  Ifidayomi AKA Ejiogbe who is now late.

He testified that the man who died on the respondent while having intercourse at a hotel in Ikere, Ekiti, on January 2, 2023, caused a commotion that caused thugs to destroy his home and his church there. He was also suspended by his church authority because of this, and as a result, he is no longer interested in the association. He pleaded with the court to dissolve the association and he wanted the custody of his children to be given to him.

The respondent, Mrs. Ajagunigbala, acknowledged having a sexual relationship with the deceased herbalist but denied having one with the church interpreter. She acknowledged that the petitioner’s carelessness contributed to her relationship with the aforementioned male. She claimed that she had been in charge of providing food for the kids and their schools. She said that Ejiogbe had paid off many of her debts for her.


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