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Opinion

How Church member snatched Prophet’s wife; changed children’s name

The founder of Divine Prophetic Solutions Prayers Ministry, located off Arowojobe Street, Ladipo, Lagos, Prophet Theophilus Ayodeji Obayan, has asked the court to dissolve his marriage of 23 years to Prophetess Lilian Obayan.

Obayan had dragged his estranged wife and mother of four to the customary Court in Akure, Ondo state, seeking the reclaim of the paternity of his children and the dissolution of his 23-year-old marriage.

He approached the court to seek justice over the snatching of his children by a member of his church.

The petitioner prayed the court to dissolve his marriage and grant him the custody of his four children whom his wife had changed their surname to the name of her new lover, Prince Abua Obi.

Narrating his ordeal in court, Obayan said “My wife and I have a ministry in Lagos with a large congregation. But at present, she is married to Prince Abua Obi, a junior worker in our church where both of us led as shepherds.

“My lord, Prince Abua Obi is legally married with children. He and his wife are both workers in our ministry.

“The couple used to revere us, such that they call my wife and I, daddy and mummy.

“But to my surprise, my wife started an illicit affair with the man and she is married to him now. She re-registered the Church in 2019 and even changed my children’s surname to Obi.

“My wife went ahead to change the name of the church we co-founded from Divine Prophetic Solutions Prayers Ministry to Peace of Jerusalem Revival Ministry in the same location.

“I have run to God and the court to seek justice on this matter. Let her leave me, but she should not take my children away from me.”

But the respondent’s lawyer, T.B. Odudu, told the court that witnesses who testified in the case that there was no marriage between the petitioner and the respondent.

Odudu said “In Ibo land, it is their custom that if bride price has not been paid in any relationship, they don’t see the man as husband and father of his children,” she stated.

She stressed that the plaintiff lacked the five elements of customary marriage in Ibo land.

According to her, the treaty, concept of parental agreement, handing over of the bride and payment of bride price were not in the relationship.

However, the petitioner’s counsel, Bosun Otitoju, told the court that his witnesses had testified in court that there was a marriage ceremony between Obayan and his wife.

Otitoju cited the case of Agbeja (1985) 3 NWLR (Pt.11) 19, which held, “in proof of customary marriage, the evidence of the Head of the family is desirable to prove an eyewitness account of the transaction is essential.”

He, therefore, urged the court to grant his client’s claims.

President of the Court, Magistrate Segun Stephen Rotiba, in his ruling, adjourned the matter till October 10, for judgment on whether the petitioners failure to pay dowry to his wife’s family will lead him to forfeit his four children to his estranged wife.

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