A Jos Upper Area Court in Plateau on Friday dissolved the marriage between a 30-year-old lawyer, Usman Ahmed, and Zainab Abdullahi, 25, after declaring that the union had “totally collapsed”.
“This marriage has failed and is hereby dissolved,” the judge, Yahaya Mohammed, declared while ruling in the case filed by Zainab.
He ordered Zainab to refund the N60,000 dowry paid by Ahmed in 2015.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Zainab had approached the court for the dissolution of her marriage to the lawyer on the grounds that she had lost interest in the union and was no more in love with him.
Zainab, through her counsel, Bala Bako, told the court that she was ready to refund the N60,000 dowry Ahmed paid on her.
But when the case was heard on April 14, 2017, Ahmed claimed that he paid N400,000 as dowry, and demanded full refund as a condition for the divorce.
Ahmed, through his counsel, M.K. Idoko, claimed that he was permitted by Islamic injunction to ask for the exact or more than the N60,000 dowry he paid “depending on the negotiation between the two families”.
He alleged that his estranged wife had abandoned him when he was writing his final examinations at the Nigeria Law School, Bagauda in Kano, last August.
“My lord, my client’s wife decided, on her own, to leave her matrimonial home while her husband was away to Law School writing his final examinations. That really traumatised him.
“He (husband) tried to reconcile with her to no avail; since she insists on leaving, she should refund N400,000 as dowry,” he argued.
But Mr. Bako, Zainab’s Counsel, in a counter argument, insisted that his client did not leave voluntarily.
He said that she was forced to look for a way out when she realised that her husband had abandoned her and left her in psychological trauma.
Mr. Bako argued further: “the N60,000 dowry can be refunded in full, but anything above that is contrary to Islamic injunctions, especially since she does not have such money.
“According to Islamic law, she will refund only what she can afford.
“My lord, the plaintiff can afford only N60, 000 as refund to her husband; he made life unbearable for her during the marriage and should not stress her further,” he said.
Mr. Idoko had objected to Bako’s claims, arguing that the petitioner’s claim of being subjected to trauma was false.
He said that the marriage was just about one year old when Zainab abandoned her husband.
Mr. Idoko, however, agreed to lower the monetary demand from N400,000 to N350,000.
The judge, in his ruling, said that the marriage had clearly failed, and particularly pointed out that the two persons were no longer in love.
“It is also clear that the husband, Ahmed, did not contest her prayers for the dissolution of the marriage; all he seems to be concerned about is his dowry of N350,000.
“By this, it is obvious that the marriage between them is no more harmonious. I hereby declare the marriage between Ahmed and Zainab dissolved while the petitioner (Zainab), is hereby ordered to pay N60,000 to the respondent (Ahmed),” Mr. Mohammed declared.
Responding to the judgement, Mr. Bako expressed satisfaction and described it as “very apt and well considered.”