A mother of six adults, Mrs Agnes Ikpea, has asked the Court of Appeal in Benin to void an order which her estranged husband, Chief Leemon Ikpea, relied on to evict her from her matrimonial home.
Chief Ikpea had filed a petition at the Edo State High Court in Benin in which he sought the dissolution of marriage of 39 years, which produced six children.
Along with the petition, Chief Ikpea also filed an ex-parte application asking the court to order his wife to vacate the matrimonial home on Banana Island in Lagos.
On February 17, 2021, Justice J. I. Acha granted the application.
The judge directed the petitioner to provide suitable accommodation for his wife around Victoria Island.
The judge ruled: “It is hereby ordered that petitioner provide a suitable apartment by way of accommodation within Victoria Island, Lekki axis or anywhere convenient within Lagos outside Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos forthwith…”
But Mrs Ikpea alleged that the husband threw her out of the house without providing her with any alternative suitable accommodation as ordered by the court.
Justice Acha had refused Mrs Ikpea’s application to transfer the case to Lagos since both parties reside in the state.
Following the ruling, Mrs Ikpea’s lawyers filed an appeal, which they served on both Chief Ikpea and his lawyers in Benin.
They also applied for a stay of execution of the order and an injunction restraining Chief Ikpea from carrying out the order pending the hearing of her appeal.
Mrs Ikpea said the husband disregarded the appeal and the motion for stay of execution and went ahead to throw her out.
The 64-year-old, in a video recorded by her daughter who came to fetch her after she was left stranded outside her matrimonial home, said some “hefty men” sent her packing bare-footed without concluding arrangements for where she would stay.
She is urging the Court of Appeal to void the order obtained by her 64-year-old billionaire oil-services magnate.
According to the court papers, Chief Ikpea, a devout Catholic, married Agnes under native law and custom.
Around 20 years ago, and in seeking full compliance with the strictures of the Catholic faith, the couple renewed their vows at the St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Toyin Street, Ikeja Lagos.
The couple has six adult children.
Chief Ikpea later married a new wife under native law and custom and sought to end his marriage to Agnes.
Mrs Ikpea had sought to have the case struck out for lack of territorial jurisdiction.
Faulting the order, one of Mrs Ikpea lawyers said: “Ordering the respondent to vacate her matrimonial home during the pendency of divorce proceedings, has the effect of determining the divorce case prematurely.”
The case will come up for hearing on March 3, 2021.