Two men, Anyaso Udeh from Abia State, southeast Nigeria, and another man identified simple as Gabriel from Delta State, southsouth Nigeria, are locked in a fierce battle over a grandmother, Mrs Patricia Osadebe, and her five children over who among them is the rightful husband and father of the five children delivered by the woman in Lagos State, western Nigeria.
Both men claimed to have married Patricia and had children from her. Gabriel said he married Patricia and paid her bride price and so, she is his legitimate wife and the children belong to him.
Udeh on his part claimed that despite the fact that he did not pay Patricia’s bride price, he is the biological father of those children.
Members of Patricia’s family are saying that since Gabriel properly married her according to their culture and tradition in Delta State, the children belong to Gabriel.
The fighting has become so intense that the police at Area ‘M’ Command, Idimu have intervened in the matter to no avail.
According to Patricia, she married Gabriel more than 20 years ago and they had a daughter who is now married and has kids.
She later left Gabriel in Delta State and came to Lagos and lived with Udeh from Abiriba in Abia State as husband and wife and had five children.
Last year she decided to go back to her former husband, Gabriel, with her five children and claimed that the children belong to him.
Udeh, whom she had lived with since 1993 and believed to be the father of those children, was left with none of the children.
Udeh is pleading that if Patricia has decided to go back to Gabriel, her family should allow him take custody of his children in the interest of peace and justice.
While narrating what happened, Udeh said he met Patricia in Lagos in 1993 and they started living together as husband and wife and he later took her to Cotonou in the Repblic of Benin in 1994 where they lived and had all the five children.
He said they later came back to Lagos and settled at 10, Olayitaro Street, Bayota Bus Stop, off Governor Road in Ikotun, Lagos.
He said they had been living peacefully until last year when he came back from work and did not see Patricia and the children.
Udeh said he later learnt she had gone to her brother who handed her and the children over to Gabriel.
However, another trouble started when two of his older children, their first daughter, 17, and a boy, 13, found their way back to Udeh in Lagos.
But Udeh and the two children were arrested by the police and taken to Idimu Command.
The police forced him to release the children to Patricia, and he said he consented because he had no money to fight back.
“While she withheld the other three children, she and the family are still making attempt to take the other two with me to her new husband,” Udeh lamented.
When asked about Gabriel, he said he did not know anything about him until this matter came up.
He said Patricia only told him that one man (Gabriel) impregnated her in the village and he had a baby girl who had married since and had children.
He admitted that he did not pay her bride price all the years they were living together and said he only did marriage ‘introduction’ and was given a list of what to do and he was not able to do it because of lack of money.
Udeh said he had taken some wine to Patricia’s uncle called Godwin Osadebe who lives at Ago-Okota as part of the introduction and promised to do other things when he had money.
He described what is happening now as shocking and did not believe Patricia could dump him and take his children to another man.
When P.M.NEWS contacted Gabriel, he said he had taken his wife and children back and declined to make further comment.
The head of Patricia’s family in Lagos, Chief Agumba said the family does not recognize Udeh because there was no proper marriage between him and their daughter, Patricia.
He said Gabriel is recognized as her husband and if indeed Udeh wanted to marry Patricia, he would have paid the bride price to the family.
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