Lets Talk About The “Court” That Enforces Marriage Divorce In The Olden Days
By Akabogu Dorathy
“Be nna m kara m mma ugbua, kama i ga-ebunara nna m ozu m; ka m jiri aka m naba n’ndu ( I rather separate from you now than wait until my corpse is carried back to my father’s house) “, Oriaku Ngozi Ifeanokalia cried as her husband was beating her blue and black.
What could have happened to this couple that it has degenerated into wife battery prompting Oriaku to start contemplating leaving her matrimonial home after 20 years of marriage and three kids ?
Just some years ago , both of them were optomistic about the future of their marriage but today , divorce is staring them in the face.
In the olden days , Divorce between married couples don’t take the normal procedure that divorces take in these mordern days .
In Igbo land, divorce in marriages which is known as ígbá àlûkwãghí in Igbo language is an action taken by the wife or husband when either of them decides to call it quits with the marriage.
In the case of the wife divorcing her husband like Oriaku is comtemplating , the wife does so by either by moving back to her parents house or to an unknown destination (either on self exile or eloping with her lover).
In a situation where the man is the person pushing for a divorce , In Igbo land , there are actions the man could take in a bid to enforce the divorce from his wife .
The man pushing for the divorce could take the action of striking his penis on the ground , this mode of enforcing a divorce is however , rare because of the health hazards striking his penis on the ground portends for the man.
Another unpopular action the husband could take is cutting his wife’s basket into two halves lengthwise and also destroy the wife’s CHÍ.
The most popular and renowned action that could be taken by the husband in enforcing a divorce from his wife is sending the wife back to her parents with palm wine and three pear leaves with a statement – “ùbé bélù n’õké” which means let the pear leaves mark our boundary.
Parents in those days do not readily support divorce in any way , they will always plead for a peaceful reunion.