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Domestic Offences: Abandonment of Spouse and Ejection of Spouse

It is no longer considered strange in Nigeria, to hear that a spouse (particularly a man) has abandoned his responsibilities in the home and absconded either with another lover or even to an entirely unknown place. The Violence Against persons (prohibition) Act has now made it a crime to abandon one’s spouse, children and other dependants without sustenance and anyone guilty of this will face charges of imprisonment of not less than one year or a fine of not less than N100,000[Section 16 (1)- (3) of the Violence Against persons (prohibition) Act]. Even a person  who  receives  or  assists another  who, to his  or her  knowledge, committed this offence  is  considered an accessory after  the fact  and is  liable  on conviction  to a term  of imprisonment  not  exceeding 1 year or to a fine  not exceeding N1 00,000.00  or both[Section 16 (4) of the Violence Against persons (prohibition) Act]
Forceful ejection by any marriage partner is also now prohibited. Consequently, any partner who forcefully evicts his/her partner from his or her home or refuse access commits an offence attracting imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or to a fine not exceeding N300,000.00 or both [Section 9 of the Violence Against persons (prohibition) Act].

Spousal Battery
A  person  who  batters  his   or  her  spouse  commits  an  offence  and  is liable on conviction to a  term  of  imprisonment  not exceeding  3   years  or to a fine  not exceeding N200,000.00 or both.
These are great provisions of the Law, however the problem of the society has not been the non-existence of law but the lack of intent to enforce same. Rape is a criminal offence but how many  victims speak out? It is a criminal offence punishable by jail term to marry another woman under an existing marriage under the Marriage Act, this Law has been broken like kolanut, how many wives have come out to jail their husbands? If a woman is forceful ejected from her matrimonial home, will it be perceived as "right" for the woman to report and have her husband prosecuted for same? However, this does not mean we do not need the Law, but the governmental institutions needs to go further in educating the populace and also put in place safegaurd measures for the victims. I belief we need a total rebirth in the country, we need to change amend our tradition and line of thought.


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