A High Court in Jabi, on Monday, dissolved a five-year-old marriage between one Linda Dike and her husband, Jude Ajaeroh, on grounds that he was legally married to another woman in German.
The case makes the man a bigamist.
Dike in her petition, sought for the dissolution of the purported marriage through Sections 3 (1) (a) (d) and 34 of the Matrimonial Cause Act. The sections, which stipulated that any marriage purportedly celebrated when one of the parties was lawfully married to another when consent was obtained either by fraud or duress would be void.
The Act further stipulated that a petition to nullify such marriage can be instituted by the affected party.
Delivering judgment, Justice Charles Agbaza, held that the only issue to be determined by the court was whether the petitioner had successfully established her case, for the court to grant the relief she sought.
The judge further averred that Ajaeroh, the respondent, who was served with court processes and hearing notices, did not file nor answer to the petition. However, he had legal representation, and neither did he challenge the evidence of the petitioner, rather he rested his case on that of the petitioner
According to Agbaza, ”the implication of this is that the court will deem the unchallenged and uncontroverted evidence of the petitioner as true, correct ( as long as it is credible) and act on it”.
The Justice concluded that “because the evidence brought by the petitioner was not challenged by the respondent, “this petition succeeds and judgment is accordingly entered in favour of the petitioner in the following terms
“The court hereby pronounce a Decree of Nullity of the purported marriage conducted between Lynda Dike and Jude Ajaeroh on Oct.2,2014 at the Federal Marriage Registry, Abuja, on the ground that the marriage is void. The court hereby grants an order nullifying the said marriage.”
Also in her petition, Dike said that when she married the respondent, he told her that he was not married.
She further submitted that when she traveled to Germany to see the respondent, he took her to a different address from the one she knew he lived.
According to the petitioner, when she demanded to be taken to the address she knew, Ajaeroh beat her up.
She said the action prompted her to trace the respondent to the other address, where she discovered he lives with his German wife.
Dike added that she confronted the respondent and he admitted that he had been married to the German woman for over a year before he came to Nigeria to marry her.