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Ondo Magistrate Court Condemns Igbo Custom, Grants Father Access to Children Over Bride Price Row

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AKURE, Nigeria – A ruling by an Akure Magistrate Court has labeled certain aspects of the Igbo custom as “barbaric, evil, and ungodly.” This was in response to a case where a father was denied access to his children due to the non-payment of the bride price to the wife’s family.

The legal dispute revolved around Prophet Theophilus Obayan, of Yoruba origin, and his estranged wife, Prophetess Chibuzor Lilia, an Igbo woman from Abia State.

The couple previously led the Divine Prophetic Solutions Prayers Ministry, Ladipo, in Lagos State.

The contention arose when Prophetess Chibuzor left Obayan to marry one of his spiritual followers, Abua Obi. Subsequently, she changed her children’s surname to Obi.

In retaliation, Obayan initiated a divorce suit against his wife due to the alteration of his children’s surname.

Magistrate Segun Rotiba, in his judgment delivered on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, expressed severe disapproval of the Igbo custom showcased in the case.

He stated, “The custom (Igbo) that tends to punish one person when two consenting adults are involved in the act is nothing but the highest element of insensitivity and servitude.”

Further condemning the tradition, he added that the idea that children can bear the surname of someone other than their biological father based on this custom is “atavistic, barbaric, evil, ungodly, irrational,” among other strong descriptors.

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