In Lagos "My husband deceived me into marriage at age 12, '' estranged wife says

"Onu told my parents that he will send me to school after the marriage, my parent agreed and he paid the bride price," she said.

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"My husband deceived me into marriage at the age of 12 with a promise to my parents that he would send me to school,’’ an unhappy wife told an Igando Customary Court in Lagos on Monday.

The 45-year-old trader, Margaret Agwu, said for the husband’s deceitfulness she was calling it quits after 33 years in Agwu Onu’s house.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that her husband refused to appear in court after several summonses.

Margaret had filed the suit seeking the dissolution of the union, citing the man’s duplicity.

According to Margaret, who had five children for him, her husband also lied to her parents that he had a provision store.

"When I was 12 years old, my husband came to my village to ask for my hand in marriage.

"He told my parents that he lived in a flat and that he is a businessman and owned a provision store.

"My parents told him that they cannot release me for marriage because I was too young and besides I was still schooling.

"Onu told my parents that he will send me to school after the marriage, my parent agreed and he paid the bride price," she said.

Margaret regretted that on getting to the city, she discovered that her husband was not what he made her and her parents believe he was.

"When I got to his house, I discovered that he was staying in one-room apartment, selling popcorn at the roadside.

"He also refused to fulfill his promise of sending me to school."

The frustrated woman said she would not have reminded herself of the husband’s deceit but because he had turned out to be a brute, who beats her at the slightest provocation.

She added:"My husband turned me into a punching bag; sometimes he will strip me and beat the hell out of me.

"He once punched me in my stomach and I lost my first pregnancy after the fight. I have lived every minute of my life in fear but I cannot go back to my parents because of the bride price."

Margret said also accused her of absconding with their children 16 years ago.

"When I called him after he packed out, he just told me that he was no longer interested in the marriage and since then he refused to pick my calls.

"His relations told me he relocated with the children to Port Harcourt, Rivers State. It is 16 years now that I have not seen nor heard from them.

"I heard that my husband gave our first daughter's hand in marriage without my knowledge and that she had given birth to a baby," she said.

Margaret urged the court to help her to return the N600 bride price paid by her husband and dissolve the marriage, saying "I am no longer in love and I want to move on with my life.’’

NAN reports that when an official of the court called the man on telephone as directed, he said: "She is no longer my wife.’’

The President of the court, Mr Adegboyega Omilola, ordered the petitioner (the wife) to pay back the bride price to the court for onward transfer to the estranged husband.

The case was adjourned to July 26 for judgment.

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