A human rights group in Lagos State, Nigeria by the name of Human Rights Defenders and Access to Justice Advocate Centre received a complaint from a woman named Mrs. Ijeoma Okoro.
The complaint was against Mrs. Okoro’s husband, Mr. Imasuen Okoro who she reports has seized her certificate and her property.
Upon being asked why Mr. Imasuen would do such a thing, the Advocate Centre was more than shocked to hear that Mr. Imasuen seized Mrs. Ijeoma’s certificate and property because Mr. Imasuen’s, mother took his wife Mrs. Ijeoma to a herbalist.
This herbalist told Mr. Imasuen’s mother and Mrs. Ijeoma that Mrs. Ijeoma would need to sleep inside a grave before she would be able to conceive a child.
Mr. Imasuen’s mother insisted that Mrs. Ijeoma must do as instructed by the herbalist, but Mrs. Ijeoma said that she couldn’t do such because of her personal beliefs.
She said that she tried to meet her mother in law halfway by taking the herbs given to her by the herbalist, but her mother in law said that it wasn’t enough – that she had to sleep inside the grave as instructed by the herbalist.
Mrs. Ijeoma also said that she and Mr. Imasuen dated for 6 years before finally committing to marriage.
She says that during those years of dating Mr. Imasuen, she didn’t really visit him except on his birthdays.
She said that when she visited him on one of his birthdays, she saw a woman in his house who Mr. Imasuen assured her was his sister.
In 2017, Mr. Imasuen paid her dowry and quickly after, the couple did their traditional marriage.
According to Mrs. Ijeoma, two weeks after their marriage, Mr. Imasuen called her and informed her that the woman he said was his sister was not his sister at all, but his wife.
He said that this woman had born four children to him – two boys, and two girls.
Mrs. Ijeoma said she cried bitterly upon hearing the news because she had not signed up to become a second wife. Still, she persevered and agreed to continue living with Mr. Imasuen as a second wife.
During their first year of marriage, Mrs. Ijeoma said that she was not able to conceive and that it was during that time that her mother in law took her to the herbalist who told her to sleep in a grave.
When Ijeoma refused and the mother in law insisted, Ijeoma said that her mother in law’s attitude towards her changed immediately, and so did the attitude of her husband.
By 2018, she decided that she no longer wanted to go ahead with the marriage and packed her bags to go and stay with her sister in Aba, Abia State.
Upon coming back to the family house in Benin, Edo State to carry her remaining property and certificates, she found that her husband had seized all her belongings including her late mother’s deep freezer and clothes, saying that he would not allow her to take any of it.
Mrs. Ijeoma is now seeking the help of the Human Rights Defenders and Access to Justice Advocate Centre to see how they can help.