A mother of six adults, Mrs. Agnes Ikpea, has asked the Court of Appeal in Benin, Edo State, to void an order which her estranged husband, Chief Leemon Ikpea, relied on to evict her from her matrimonial home.
Leemon had filed a petition at the Edo State High Court in Benin in which he sought the dissolution of his marriage of 39 years to Agnes, which produced six grown-up children.
Along with the petition, Leemon 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, however, directed the petitioner to provide suitable accommodation for his wife around Victoria Island.
He ruled: “It is hereby ordered that petitioner should 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 Agnes alleged that the husband threw her out of the house without providing her with any suitable alternative accommodation as ordered by the court. Acha had refused Agnes’ application to transfer the case to Lagos on the premise that both parties reside in the state.
Following the ruling, counsel to Agnes filed an appeal, which they served on both Leemon and his lawyers in Benin. They also applied for a stay of execution of the order and an injunction restraining Leemon from carrying out the order, pending the hearing of her appeal. Agnes 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. According to the court papers, Leemon, a devout Catholic, married Agnes under native law and custom.
About 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. Leemon later married a new wife under native law and custom and sought to end his marriage to Agnes.
Agnes had sought to have the case struck out for lack of territorial jurisdiction. Faulting the order, one of Agnes’ 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