A 28-year-old factory worker has told an Agege Customary Court, Agege, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, that his 70-year marriage crashed because he caught his mother-in-law having sex with her neighbour.
Emmanuel Ewansiha made this revelation while giving evidence in a divorce suit instituted against him by his 24-year old wife, Mary.
The father of three said that his seven year old marriage was once blissful until his mother-in-law, Madam Dorothy James, poisoned his wife’s mind against him, forced her to leave their matrimonial home and started having male friends.
He told the court that his mother in-law deliberately crashed their marriage, believing that he would reveal the secret between them to the public.
He said Madam Dorothy turned hostile when he caught her having sex with her neighbour.
“My mother in-law is my problem not my wife because I love her very much. When Mary gave birth to our first child, my mother called for me so that we would meet with the pastor and plan the naming ceremony.
I went to her shop to see her and she was not there and I decided to check her at her residence. When I got there and knocked at the door, there was no response.
“Since the door was only hooked with pieces of cloth, I decided to force it open, but what I saw inside was shocking. I saw my mother in-law having sex with her neighbour and since then, she has changed negatively towards me.
“She was once a pillar of support but since the incident, I became her enemy. She made my marriage with her daughter a hell for me. This would be the first time that I will be saying this publicly because I had vowed never to tell anyone not even my wife. She’s hearing it for the first time here today.”
He told the court that his mother in-law ensured that she convinced his wife to dump him, adding that she once told him that she wanted her daughter to marry a Yoruba man.
“I went to work the day she packed out. I even gave my wife some money to cook for the family but to my surprise, I came back home to discover that she had packed out of the house to her mother’s place. When I went there, she told me to leave her daughter alone.
“Last Sunday when I went there to see my children at about 10p.m., I saw my wife applying makeup, preparing to go out. When I asked her where she was going to, she said point blank that she was going to her boyfriend’s place.
“Her mum came out while we were arguing over the issue and she chased me away. I then hid somewhere to monitor where she was going to. At about 10.30 p.m. a taxi came to pick her,” he said.
He said his entire plea to his mother in-law that his wife should come back home fell on her deaf ears, adding that she controls his father in-law.
While Mary was giving her evidence, she said if her mother does not like her husband, she would not have allowed her to have three children for him.
She alleged that her husband started beating her immediately after she gave birth to their first daughter who is seven year old now.
She said she didn’t pack out of her matrimonial home but her husband sent her belongings to her mother when he started having extra marital affairs.
“He told me that there was a girl he just met and that her father is very rich. He said he wanted the girl to help him get a job through her father, who sells cars, and that he’s already wooing the girl and she has agreed to come and spend the weekend with him.
“He said he doesn’t want the girl to know that he’s married and that I should pack all my belongings and that of my children and vacate the house. When I refused, he beat me up and packed my belongings to my mother’s house,” she told the court.
She alleged he does not take good care of her and the children, adding that he always give them N100 for feeding every morning before he leaves for work.
The mother in-law, Madam Dorothy, said Emmanuel impregnated her daughter when she was just 17 years old and in Junior Secondary School.
She alleged that Emmanuel ran away when she was about giving birth, leaving her to bear the financial burden alone.
She said he came back pleading for forgiveness, only for him to impregnate her again when their first child was barely eight months old.
She said he fled again to Libya when his wife was three-month pregnant, claiming that he wanted to seek greener pasture abroad but returned empty handed years later.
“I’m not the one that crashed his marriage. He was the one that brought her belongings to my house that he didn’t want her anymore.
He said she doesn’t want him to progress in life. He’s so rude and cursed me at every slightest provocation. He even threatened to kill me,” she told the court.
The court president, after listening to all the parties, adjourned the matter for further hearing.