A human rights lawyer, Emeka Ugwuonye has shared the story of a Christian woman whose husband took to a Sharia court for ‘praying too much’ and being dutiful to her Christian obligations.
“Chinyere is a nice, lovely lady, a B.Sc. degree holder. She is calm and gentle and beautiful in many ways. She is a mother of 4 children and 4 months pregnant with the 5th.
She is a strong christian and active member of her church. Her husband is neither here nor there. He is a Christian, but everything he does seems to come right from the devil’s warehouse. He beats his wife at random and then heads to church to pray.
Like some Nigerian men, he manipulates all the gods. When he likes, he is a traditionalist relying on the customs of his people. At other times, he is a Christian quoting from the bible, particular the part that keeps women submissive. And finally, when neither the customs nor the Bible could help him, he ran to the Sharia.
This lady met with me today in Abuja in preparation for her ordeal in the Sharia Court next week. The man is actually asking the Sharia to assist him in getting separation from his wife for 6 months. Since she is 4-months pregnant, we seem to understand what he wants. He does’t want to be bothered with her pregnancy headaches or costs. He wants to receive the baby only after he has confirmed it is a boy.
The lady gave me a list of woes she has encountered in the hands of this man. The latest is the fact that despite her Christian faith, the man secretly converted her to Islam.
I had a number of options and suggestion to make to this woman. I wanted to advise her to divorce the man outright rather than face the Sharia. But I remembered that many of the people in this group have insisted that God hates divorce. By implication, they are of the view that this woman should rather go with her husband to their new religion rather than divorce him. (By the way, all those in this group who insist that God hates it for this woman to divorce this man, raise your hands because I am about to advise her to divorce him).
Anyway, all effort is being made to protect this woman against all odds. Her greatest concern is her children. She doesn’t want to be separated from her children. She has suffered so much in the hands of this man that she doesn’t care about him any more. It is just her children. So, we are going to make sure that whatever happens, she will be with her children.
You can see me in the pictures with the lady.”