A 30-year-old lawyer, Usman Ahmed, on Tuesday, asked his 25-year-old wife, Zainab Abdulkadir, to refund the N400,000 dowry he paid on her, as a condition for divorce.
Mr. Ahmed made the request when he appeared before a Jos Upper Area Court, in Plateau State, North-central Nigeria, where the wife, Zainab filed a suit seeking dissolution of the marriage.
The wife had sought dissolution of the marriage because the husband no longer had interest in the union.
The petitioner, through her counsel, Bala Bako, told the court, “My client is no longer interested in the marriage. She is seeking a divorce from her husband.’’
But counsel for the respondent, M. Idoko, told the court to prevail on the petitioner to refund the dowry paid on her.
He said the petitioner deserted the respondent when he was writing his final examination at the Nigeria Law School.
“My lord, my client’s wife decided on her own to leave her matrimonial home while her husband was away to Law School writing his final examination. He (husband) tried to no avail to reconcile with her; but since she is the one who is willing to leave, she should refund the N400,000 paid on her as dowry,” Mr. Idoko told the court.
“By Islamic injunctions, she is to refund the exact dowry or even more, depending on the negotiation the two families reached,’’ he argued.
The legal practitioner said it was on that ground that the respondent was demanding for the exact amount paid as dowry.
However, counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Bako insisted that it was the respondent who abandoned his client.
“She did not leave voluntarily, but she was compelled to do so when her husband abandoned her in their matrimonial home,’’ he said.
Bako said the dowry could not be refunded in full because she did not have such money.
“According to Islamic law, she will refund only what she can afford. My lord, the plaintiff can afford only N60,000 as a refund to her husband; after all, he subjected her to trauma when he abandoned her at home,” Mr. Bako argued.
Counsel to husband, objected to the prayer, arguing that the petitioner’s claim of being subjected to trauma was false.
“The marriage was just about a year, and she subjected her husband to trauma as she abandoned him while writing his final examination at the Law School. My lord, if she cannot pay more or the exact amount, we are asking her to pay N350,000 and nothing less as a refund for her dowry,’’ he said.
The Judge, Yahaya Ibrahim, adjourned the case till April 21, for a ruling. (NAN)