A 62-year-old man, Adesanya Akanni, is seeking the dissolution of his 32-year-old marriage to Florence Akani, over religious differences. Adesanya Akanni approached a Lagos Island Customary Court, Lagos on Thursday complaining that wife’s continued practice of her Christian faith was adversely affecting the family.
The petitioner claimed that his marital problems started about 26-years ago, when his wife, Florence resumed the practice of her Christian faith. He also alleged that she changed the names of their five children to Christian names without his consent.
Akanni said, “Our five children were given Muslim names at birth, Kaosara, 32, Kudirat, 25, Mubarak, 22, Azeez, 19 and Musa, 17.
“Their mother and the Church she attends, have now changed their names to Oluwatomi, Victoria, Oluwasegun, Oluwarotimi and Peter respectively. “I did not know until I went to the school of my last two boys to ask for Azeez and Musa but officials of the school claimed they did not have students bearing those names.
“It was when I mentioned their surname that I was told that they now bear Oluwarotimi and Peter.”
The petitioner also said he was not informed when his first daughter got married and gave birth to her two children.
“The Church and my wife gave out my daughter, without informing me; she gave birth to her two children. My wife and daughter did not tell me anything. “We live under the same roof and over the past two years, my wife has stopped cooking my meals. She does not allow me to make love to her,’’ Akanni said.
Akanni, however, prayed the court to dissolve their marriage and award custody of the last two children to his wife, Florence, 61, who denied all the allegations.
She explained that Akanni did not insist that she should convert to Islam after their marriage, stressing that at the time of their marriage, “my husband was not a practising Muslim.
“I started attending Church when I had an 8-year delay after our first child; he used to accompany me to Church but later stopped and then prevailed on me to discontinue attending Church. “This our fight over religion has been ongoing for years, but I have refused to stop going to church because God has been answering my prayers.
“After eight years of believing God for the fruit of the womb, God gave me, not just one but three other children. I have been taking them to Church ever since. “When our first daughter wanted to get married, I informed my husband but he said our daughter should go and `meet her father in the church’.
“He had vowed he would not be part of the wedlock, unless our daughter re-converted to Islam,”
The mother of five, told the court that she still loved her husband but, ‘I cannot convert to Islam’.
The president of the court, Mr Awos Awosola, adjourned the case to Nov. 30 to enable other members from both families to mediate on the matter.