Child Custody in Nigeria

There seems to be a presumption that all child custody matters in Nigeria will be decided in favor of the father. While it is true that under some customary law systems the father is privileged in custody matters this is not uniform or universal and does not apply to any statutory marriage under the Matrimonial Cause Act.

Under Sharia law custody is usually granted the mother; under Yoruba customary law, mothers are granted custody of female children and fathers of male children. In Igbo customary law custody is of weaned children is usually given to the father. Mind you Nigeria has numerous ethnic groups and customary laws vary broadly.

For a marriage to be subject to customary law the ceremonies for consecrating marriage under that particular system of customary law must have been complied with and the bride price must have been paid. If these conditions have not been met any custody of any children of the relationship will be automatically awarded to the mother and or her father.

A statutory marriage that comes under the jurisdiction of the Matrimonial Causes Act must be celebrated before a licensed marriage officer outside Nigeria or registrar of marriages within Nigeria between a man and woman that are previously single. Many foreign women have been manipulated with threats that they would lose custody and be deported forcibly.

Section 71 of the Matrimonial Causes Act is very clear that custody should be decided based on the child’s best interest. Case law has upheld this principle but mothers that want custody are held to very strict proof that they can maintain the children without regard to the courts powers to grant maintenance orders.

Mothers that have come to me for representation frequently describe the arduous proof they are made to provide that they have a personal residence, job and income before they are given custody. While it seems logical and fair that mothers are encouraged to have a job, child maintenance is supposed to provide the necessary financial support that she may lack to take care of her child or children.

If it’s in the best interest of the family that the spouses separate or divorce such as in cases involving domestic violence the spouse granted custody should receive maintenance and support from the other. Both parents should be and should remain financially responsible for their offspring.

However if either spouse was by mutual agreement or otherwise the primary care giver and did not work outside the home during cohabitation and is given custody in a divorce it would be questionable whether requiring that spouse to now work would serve the interest of the children.

Father’s that are asking for custody of children during divorce proceedings are equally required to prove that they can personally provide attention, care and nurture in addition to material needs and that they are fit to have custody.

Will the court automatically grant custody to a father that is also a violent drug addict and regularly disappears for months at a time?  No. Will the court grant custody to an abusive man that believes his wife is a witch and takes his children for strange midnight rituals and exorcisms? No.

Likewise the court will not automatically grant custody to a mother if she is a drug addict or a dangerously delusional religious zealot. Case law shows the child interests being paramount. Custody hearings are getting more sophisticated and judges are asking insightful questions about the best interest of a child in any given circumstance.

Generally custody of very young children is awarded to the mother. There is also a preference for awarding custody of male children to the father and female children to the mother but again this is not a hard and fast rule and circumstances of each case determine the best interest of the child/children.

Evidence of misconduct and moral depravity could however tip the courts judgment against the offending party when awarding custody. The case law needs to be carefully reviewed to determine what the courts consider moral depravity of sufficient seriousness to otherwise deprive a parent of custody.

The Child’s Rights Act of 2003 makes provisions for protecting children during a divorce but child custody law remains a product of Nigeria’s marriage laws and it remains to be seen how the CRA will be read and enforced.


For more on Nigerian case law and decisions on custody here 


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329 Responses to “Child Custody in Nigeria”

  1. jane Ameh Says:

    Good day ma’am. Please I would like to contact you privately, how do i reach you please. Thank You.

  2. Chinenye Anne Says:

    I’ve been married for 4 years and my husband has not been contributing to this marriage in any form. The final straw that broke the camel’s back was that he left with the two children of the marriage ( 3 & 2 years) to an unknown destination since 4 weeks ago. I’ve filed a suite for judicial separation and custody of the children and he ( my husband) is yet to answer the court. Pls I want to know if I can be granted custody of the two children of the marriage since I was the one that caters for their welfare both feeding,clothing, house rent,school fees, medical bills and practically everything. Am a nurse with teaching hospital whereas my husband currently has nothing doing. He is also a drunkard and smokes indian hemp which gets him intoxicated most often than none. I have no set my eyes on the children for the past one month and I want to know if the court can help me get my children? Thanks.

    • Emmanuel Chibuikem Says:

      Good day Madam! I was forced to go online to search for tips on Child Custody for unmarried couples due to my younger brother’s case…luckily I came across this blog.

      My younger brother (23) had a child out of wedlock with his girl friend April last year. Before the delivery, the girl refused to show up with the pregnancy but only talked to my brother on phone that she was carrying his baby. After much persuasion, she showed up a day to her delivery.

      From then my brother has been taking care of the girl and the baby. The problem is that both of them do not agree at all: quarels and fights all day. My brother do not want to continue the relationship into marriage neither has the girl shown readiness for marriage. The families are coming in to decide on separation but the bone of contention now is: who takes custody of the child.
      My brother want to keep the child because the girl has threatened to sale off the child. She said she had made arrangements to do so immediately after delivery but the fact that she delivered the baby in our custody twarted the plans.
      Kindly advice on the legal way to go about this? The seperation and the child custody with the man. The baby is 10months as at today 5th February, 2016.

      • mz_agams Says:

        Your brother is 23, how will he take care of a baby? Is it property? Leave the child with the mother, when he grows he will look for his father. Since there was no marriage there is no need for separation

  3. Chinenye Anne Says:

    pls ma, I want to call you. let me have your mobile phone numbers. Thanks.

  4. Adedayo Adebisi Says:

    May I call you on the number provided?

  5. jasmine Says:

    hi, pls i have a friend who is pregnant and is sick and dying. she wants to give sole custody to her mother becos she knows her mother will take perfect care of her baby.she doesnt want her husband to have custody becos he is never around and drinks and clubs with friends and abandons his pregnant wife all the time and she also feels he will marry another woman as soon as she is no more.she is scared the new wife will maltreat her baby. what should she do for the court to grant her mother custody of her baby?

  6. Tana Says:

    good afternoon, I a young girl who married at 18, i was mistreated by my hubby for a long time , i was starved and beaten even while pregnant. to cut the long story short, i left him two years ago with my three kids , we are not officially divorced or separated, and since den he has not contributed one kobo to d upkeep of our kids, and he goes around telling people i ran away with his kids . my fear is that he could decide one morning to struggle for my kids and i can’t live without dem and also he can’t take care of dem. i want to start preparing for any future battle . Thanks

  7. Sunday Asuquo Says:

    Can a father request for his child who is under the mum custody to come spend vacation with him during school holiday.

  8. Onyi Says:

    Hello. My ibgo husband is the king of our land. He had a son out of wedlock before we got married. Now we have two sons and a daughter. He acknowledges the son one out of wedlock as his son. Does the son he had before we married inherit our properties and his thrown as the first born?

  9. Kalu Says:

    Good day. I appreciate the answers and your time. My husband had a child before we married. He never married the woman yet claims the child (son). I have been married both legally and traditionally and have two sons. My husband is the king of our land and the woman is English. Can his son with that lady succeed the thrown over my own children? Can that child inherit our lands as the first born even thought he never payed her bride price?

  10. Onyi Says:

    thank you for your responses. I appreciate your time. My husband had a son out of wedlock before we married. He never married the woman but claims the son. I now have sons of my own and fear that the child will inherit our properties and his royal thrown as the first born. Does that child have any rights to succession over my own? Can he inherit if no will has been created?

  11. Onyi Says:

    Thank you for your responses. I appreciate your time. I have the first child of a man out of wedlock. He signed the birth certificate and acknowledges my son as his. My baby father got married and became the king in his land. The wife just gave birth to a son. Will my son be able to inherit the kingship over his wife’s son? Will he be able to share in any inheritances with his younger siblings?

  12. Femi Olanrewaju Says:

    How are you doing i’m Femi Olanrewaju am 30yrs of age and got your email while i was surfing and searching about “Child Paternity/Custody and Right of a father over a child”, I have a two month baby out out of wedlock which i went went my family to ask the mother of my child ( Fiance’) hand in marriage but her mother insisted that she most finish up her HND education before she can grant that which i agreed to wait for her. but the whole issue started when my mom pleaded for my baby mama to spend sometime with us in other to take good care of her and the baby for a short while ” Three Month” which her mother refuse and after then they went on and on to ague anytime we arrange meeting to resolve the issue on ground which escalated that my wife to be mother arrested my mom and i because my fiance wanted to submit some document to back her HND admission up in Abeokuta cause we reside in Lagos which i insisted that she should no go with the baby cause he is just 3weeks and 2 days old and that instead she should extract some breast milk for him till she comes back that same day. Now my our baby is Two months old and i went to her mom to tell her officially that there would be a child dedication in my church but her mom insisted that she wont be allowing my fiance to come over and that where ever the mother is that where the baby must be so that indicates that she doesnt want her to bring my baby over…
    My Questions are:
    *Does she has legal right to oppose my opinion of my fiance bringing the baby to church for Dedication
    * Does she have the Legal right to dictates on where, when and how to see my BABY ?
    * Does she has a Legal right that back her up to make it compulsory that its in her house that i can come see my baby boy when ever i want to see him

    Please i look forward to your reply cause i will feel relief and also know what legal step to take
    I email you already so would be nice of you to reply my email

    • mz_agams Says:

      Yes, she has full legal custody of the child, and she can make any decision she wants to without recourse to you at this time. You can apply to a high court to establish paternity and request for visitation, joint custody or even full custody (if you can prove she is incompetent) at some future date. for now there isn’t much you can do

  13. Tessyadebanji Says:

    I have a child of 9 years who have been taking care of from birth and the father is well to do he has abandoned the child please I need your help has my life has been stagnant.

  14. Solomon Okoh Says:

    Thanks for being there. I fully married an Igbo girl since 2010 according to tradition. We have two sons at 4 and 2yrs respectively Recently, we had issues and she brought her brothers and hired thugs to roughhandle me, caused me damages, and made away with my 2 sons, properties and all my landed and car documents including my credentials. Efforts by my family to mediate was resisted by her and her family members through attacks dat left some wounded. What should I do to get back my children and documents? Will the court grant her custody?

  15. vivienne amehô Says:

    I am an unmarried mother of 3:9yrs, 6yrs & 1yr.My partner has no job.I’v been fending for the family.He womanizes,drinks,sleeps with little girls.I decided it was over and went to the police when he got violent. My IPO was a weak pregnant woman.She couldnt enforce the law on him.I want to leave with my kids. How do i file a case at the High Court cuz i want him to support the kids or change their surname if he doesn’t support.

  16. kehinde Says:

    I have been seperated for 4years now and l have been the one taking care of my child last year l went to human right to logged a complain that my husband wasn’t doing anything,to my surprise he told them he has been giving me money also lied to them that hr has not remary my husband is a cony man and a slow killer nobody know his mind l never knew he was a cultist when he was in school he played on these people and l was ask to release my daughter to him l was shocked about their decision the situation is that he didn’t fight for divorce and he has another woman he is staying with l want him to fight for divorce but l need evidence I don’t where he stay in order to proof that he has a woman staying with him please am confuse what can l do l too want to remarry and move on with my life

    • mz_agams Says:

      Since you have lived apart for four years you can ask the court for a no contest divorce. I d not understand what you mean that the human rights release your daughter to him? Did he show evidence he was paying? where is she now? I am confused

  17. Samuel Says:

    I got a child(boy) out of wedlock in 2008. Though am not married to her bt I paid d hospital bill upon delivery of him(#170,000). I took care of him to a time when d grandfather told me i have to settle him all money I owe him lest I have nothing to do with d child. I enrolled him in school but d grandfather & the mother objected to it that I am not d father to d child cos his daughter has not officially said I am d father. D mother to my child left d boy when he was less than 7months in d custody of her mother in abuja while she has been away in lagos for d past 8yrs nw. D boy is abt 8yrs nw. I buy him cloths & I get queried on why; from d grandmother but if I give the mother cash for cloths; NO TROUBLE! The boy comes to my house only to be beaten on why he should visit me and most times with a threat of cutting his legs by his grandparents as he do tells me whenever he sees me. I do him out of school wandering d street most times like this MORNING and after confronting him; d answer is that his grandparents hv not paid his fees. The mother asked me 2yrs ago to start paying his fees in school but each time I try, i get a restraint from her parents. I have been going to the school where i learnt he attends since resumption to effect payment of his fees with outstanding arrears owed but always met his absence in school. I saw him today again out of school & took him to his school only for him to tell both the Director & I that he has been stopped schooling by his grandfather. Today again, the mother called few minutes ago from lagos warning me of my business if the child don’t go to school since i denied them and that the child is not mine.

    pls, can one deny a child & still pay such amount as hospital bill?
    pls, advice properly as to what to do as the future of the boy is at stake..


    • mz_agams Says:

      Go to the social welfare office and make a report. if the grand parents are keeping him out of school and blocking you you can ask for custody. the child is over 7 years and you can take custody as the father now. Also if they insist you can demand a DNA test. Go to social welfare at AMAC or Women Affairs. good luck.

  18. Morenike Says:

    Hello, thanks for the assistance in answering questions. Pls I would like to know the position of the law in respect of this.

    A man and woman got married and had children, now they are separated but not divorced. The man has been paying for the children’s school fees and general maintenance costs for the children. The woman has changed the surname of the daughter to her maiden name without the man’s consent, but did not change the surnames of the son. How can the law assist in this situation? Thank you.

  19. Morenike Says:

    Hello, thanks for the assistance in answering questions. Pls I would like to know the position of the law in respect of this, and the law which applies

    A man and woman got married and had children, now they are separated but not divorced. The man has been paying for the children’s school fees and general maintenance cos ts for the children. The woman has changed the surname of the daughter who is a minor, to her maiden name without the man’s consent, but did not change the surnames of the son. How can the law assist the father of the child in this situation? Thank you.

  20. iwebema Felix Says:

    my name is Mr iwebema Felix NDUKA i lost my wife after a surgical operations when she was given birth to my baby. she died a week after and the baby has been with my sister in law after the family insisted taking care of the child. the child had been with them for about three years now and am a bit far away from them and i want to take care of my child now what is my position since I married my wife legally and we had no problem and she is from the eastern part of Nigeria

  21. Vicky Says:

    Thank for your quick response and honest advise over the phone concerning child custody, it was very helpful

  22. Oluwatosin Says:

    Hello, I met a lady who i later know she had a daughter and she is out of marriage but her daughter stays with her we started having affairs not up to 2 month and she told me she is pregnant for me i firstly refuse because we never had any agreement for that but i later accepted the baby but i told her i want the baby that im not ready for any marriage, to cut the story short i take care of the hospital bills and the child bills from there, Due to my work i travel out of country alot and i later find out she is seeing one of his ex bf saw some few text on her phone when i got back when that one is telling her to come and are you still coming see few of the guys pics on her phone so i decided to end the relationship due to family matters they call and try to settle it thou its takes alot but my mom later told me to give her another try since she said she never do it so i gave her chance but i never love her again cos whenever i remember all the whole things its a deep pain to my heart, So we started staying together she always worry me to have sex with her i do but later leads to another pregnancy now she is forcing to marry her and i said the truth that i don’t have any feelings for her again now she is threatening me that she will take me to court thats i keep her for years and never marry her so i let her know that i told her when we started that i don’t want marriage but now she said she will charge me to court please what can i do.

  23. Margaret Says:

    Am inviting my daughter and my granson to join my in Italy the Italy embassy ask my of custody of my granson . the first one I did at suprey court was rejected because it was non done at the high it true that I should get it from the high court

  24. Margaret Says:

    Am inviting my daughter and grandson to join me in Italy the embassy ask my of custody of my grandson but the I presented was rejected because it was not approved by the high court but from soprey court is true am to do it from the high court?

  25. val Says:

    Dear ma, plz my sister got married to dis young man. They only did traditional marriage noting more. But after since they did the traditional marriage, they have been in one problem to another. The young man always beats my younger sister. So one-day he beat my sister and my sister called my mum. The young man chase them out of the house with cutlass. Before we could know what is happening the young man went to our village and report that he want to quit the marriage to our village elders. And finally my mum and my sister conclude and quit the marriage. And return back the bride price he paid which is 15000. And my sister is having a baby girl for him which is two months now. And the young man is demanding for the baby. Which my sister vow that she will never give him the baby girl unless it will be over her dead body. So ma what advice will you give to my younger sister.

    • mz_agams Says:

      The Nigeria law says he can’t take the baby away from her. They should go to the social welfare office nearest to her. It will be at the local government headquarters or the ministry of women affairs of the state

  26. umi Says:

    Good evening,
    I married a girl I hoped would be a better companion after marriage in 2011. As it stands today everything between has gone sour and I don’t see the need of continuing the union. We argue on every matter & she antagonizes me on every occasion even in public. She has never earned since we met in 2007 yet she complains i left all responsibilities to cater for my home on her. i am at loggerheads with all members of her family. For all I care, I need a divorce & custody of my children. its better to path ways now that we can still fend for ourselves.. I also need the custody of my children. Since I earn and both of my parents are retired and willing to help. one is 4 and the other 2years old.
    she is not ready to settle in man’s house and I am no longer willing to continue expecting changes. pls I need your help & advice on how to divorce a church & traditional marriage & keep my children

  27. Toyin wright Says:

    Good morning, have been married for over 12yrs and I have a daughter and two sons aged 13,11&9yrs , I want out .my husband had a child out of wedlock and he still think he is right. The child is 6yrs. I am self employed while my husband is a salary earner. If I put in for divorce can I get the custody of my children?urgent reply pls.

  28. christian Says:

    Ma, I am 27. I’m an igbo man.a graduated from UNN. my ex-girlfriend(22yrs) gave birth to a girl which it happens that I am d father. I wasn’t aware of the pregnancy until it was 3months+.when I learnt she was pregnant, She told me that she will give d baby to motherless baby’s home of which I was against.her reasons was dat she doesn’t want her people to know that she was pregnant. after much deliberations, She decided to give me d baby after she delevered.i tried pleaded with her to let her people she refused.and threatened me with a knife dat she will kill herself if I let them know. then she was staying in her skul and decided not to go home. I told my family about it wen d pregnancy was 7-8months old. after delivery (a girl) on 1st July 2015, She refused to breastfeed d baby. She stayed with d baby for 2wks and left. now d baby is 8months plus and my family has been taking care of d baby. She called me on phone saying she’s waiting so dat d baby will grow so dat she will come and take her away. I’m confused. I want to know is there anyway I can prevent her taking d baby away legally?

  29. Christian Says:

    if she takes her away,do I also have parental rights to see her whenever I want even d their family don’t want me to, since I didn’t pay her pride price?

  30. VICTOR Says:


    • mz_agams Says:

      Dear Victor. I don’t think you have enough grounds for a divorce and the children are too tender to be with you. By correct her I’m assuming you beat her right? You probably should beg her. She obviously won’t take bullshit from you. And thats not a bad thing

  31. gerald Says:

    mz agams.
    thanks for your insight on child custody. i married in 2014, traditionally and in the church and all was good, until my wife started leaving the house after every argument. she has done it again last week,simply because i refused her working in a bank because of our 8month old baby. the general issue from the family is that they believe i don’t want to help them….since i married its been from one of their family issues to another. to the point that the father begged me to buy him a land. the father doesn’t have a job, he moves around seeking different petty deals that yield almost nothing, the mother is also not doing too well in her small food item business. they have 3 other children all in the university,which as i have seen is a huge burden on them. now my wife has added hers and that of my baby to it. we are not divorced but i need custody of my child on grounds that she wont be given the much needed care and comfort.they simply cant afford to. my wife is still in school and i foot the bills. an 8month baby needs her mother ,but in the childs best interest,she needs a better home which i can afford effortlessly. please whats ur take on this matter.

    • mz_agams Says:

      Don’t you think you are being more than a little bit disingenuous? You prevented her from working and now you are complaining and you want the child because she cant take care of it? Women have worked and raised children since the beginning of time. Go ask in ya village. Why is your own different when you apparently don’t even have enough money to take care of your wife’s needs? when you married her did you not know the condition of her family? Are you not a Nigerian? Do you not know she has to help her family? And by extension you as you married her? Are you ok?

  32. deby Says:

    Good morning ma,
    I need your urgent advice ma,
    My story goes thus:
    I met a guy who asked me out for a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship in 2004 but i refused him because I had no interest in him,then i just finished my secondary school at age 14.I came from a very poor background where my mum is the only support myself and three siblings have,this made me to join her in struggling to support,i do different menial jobs like making hair,selling petty things just to feed myself and my siblings,this is how we struggled for survival.In 2006,i got a teaching job where i was been paid 4,500 per month,with this income i registered for a coaching lesson to rewrite my waec and take jamb,as God would have it i made my papers and gained my admission into one of the federal universities in 2008 to study computer engineering,until this time,i still receive messages from this guy i met in 2004 for a relationship but still i resist.In 2009,after my year one in the institution,a guy in my department asked me out,as at then i was 19,i could not resist this coursemate of mine because i had feelings for me,we started the relationship and it was no regrets,so then i told the former guy to stop texting me that i already have a relationship and he said its not possible that he came before the new guy but i told him he is not to decide who i should love,its not a matter of who came first.After i completed my ND programme in the polytecnic in August 2010,i attended a church programme with my boyfriend where a seer told me that my present boyfriend is not the will of God for me and that the person i met before him is the right person,I became confused,I went to pastor,and my pastor said the same thing,So i decided to quit my relationship with my present boyfriend in september 2010,in the first week of october 2010,i called the former guy and he invited over to his house,still i wasnt really pleased with him but i decided to start loving him because of what the pastors has said,the following week,we had sex and i took in for him, i didnt know i was pregnant until december 2010,my parents were mad at me,they were dissapointed,because i was supposed to be on IT in preparation for my HND,but at long run they pardoned me and asked me to invite the guy who got me pregnant,this time i have gotten a teaching job with a reasonable salary,and by this time,the guy has finished service since 2010 but yet to get a job,the moment i told him about the pregnancy,he rejected me,he said ” he never loved me,that he only wanted to have sex with me and so i should get rid of it and forget him” but i told i will leave the baby since i have a job i will take care of the child,that he can leave me if he wants to,so when my parents invite him,he refused,after a month,he came with the parents and we were able to have a meeting,his parents said he cant get married now because he has no job,so i should just come and live with them and have the child but his mother said,i should stay in my fathers house because her church rules does not permit a man and woman living together without marriage,after so much arguments,myself and my parents decided to fund a small introduction and marriage so that i wont have the child out of wedlock,i told him about my plans and persuaded him to allow the marriage,that God will provide him a job and we can start our life from somewhere,at this time,i was already frustrated,i cant stand the shame of having a child whom the father rejected,so i was bent on him marrying me,but he still insisted he wont marry me,then he begin to say he doesnt love me,after two months,he agreed to my plead,we had our introduction in march and got married in a state court in june 2011,i had my first child in july 2011.I was able to get him a job through a church member in one of the mobil filling stations as a supervisor just to make him happy and help him financially responsible,he has been working there since july 2011,eversince we got married,my mother inlaw has been the authority in my marriage,she insists we should not get our own apartment that she cant seperate with her son,she doesnt allow me work,all I do is to sit my baby at home,cook,wash clothes.plates,run errands for the family,i couldnt even pay my family a visit,this was how i lived until i made up my mind in january 2013 to flaunt my mother inlaw’s order and go in search of a job,i got a teaching job with a salary of 20k plus evening lessons,i also engage myself in home lessons,i started saving so that i cant get an accomodation and persuade my husband to leave his fathers house,in the month of may,we informed my mother in law about our leaving and she took it up against me that i am a witch that my mother has given me charms to be controlling my husband and that is why i want to take her son away from her,that it is not possible and that his son is not going anwhere with me,this resulted into a physical fight between me and my brother-inlaw and he threw all my things out,so i left with my son back to my fathers house,because of my son’s upkeep,i didnt resign from my place of work which was was five houses away from my father inlaws house,after three weeks i left my husband’s house, my husband came and apologise to me that i should come back but i told him i wont return until he gets an apartment,he gives his income to his mother,he doesnt take any financial responsibility on me as a wife,he insults my parents as he wish, he doesnt even regard me but amidst all these i still endure because i dont want my son to suffer single parenting.One evening in the month of july 2013 while i was going back home from work,along a narrow estate in abule-egba,I was raped,i couldnt tell my parents when i got home because i dont want to add to the problem on ground,so the following day when i got to work i took permission and went to doctor for treatment,this pains and wound became unbearable for me but i had no option than to endure it.The following month,my mother in law called me on a saturday afternoon to come so that we can settle issues,so i went after church on sunday evening even when i wasnt really pleased with their family anymore considering all i have went through in their hands,when i got there she served us rice and plantain with my brother inlaws and my father inlaw,after eating i was expecting my husband to be present since its a sitting for settlement,but my husband was at work,my mother inlaw told me she has just invited me trickishly to collect my son,on hearing that from her,i felt sad and i told her its not possible,there was a heated arguement but i escaped with my son,then that day i made my mind that i will never go their house again.few days after i began to fall sick, didnt know the cause of the sickness,it was after some test,we found out i have been given a slow poison that will kill me slowly,with God’s grace upon me after 4months of the trauma and life threating sickness,i survived,by this time of the sickness,i have lost my job,my recovery i took a step to file a divorce and free myself from my life-threatening marriage,then i begin to receive different advices to be prayerful,hopeful and all sorts of yoruba culture etiquette as regards marriages and its shortcoming. Now am at a cross-road,after so many thinking and thinking, i forgave my husband and his family and decided to continue with him, in january 2014,we got an apartment(a room self),for two different times in 2012 that i have taken in,my husband will tell me to go for an abortion that he is not ready for another child,so after we came back together in january 2014, i didnt allow him to have sex with me because i didnt want to go for another abortion,but he pleaded and promised to take care of me this time and accept it if i take in,in april 2014 I was given admission to study computer science in one of the federal universities through direct entry because i already applied for the admission in april 2013. At the time i was preparing for school,i was already pregnant and my husband supported and told me to help him look for job so that we can relocate to my school enviroment,i was happy that one day i will have a happy home,i left for school and after some months,after which i have put to bed my second child,my husband was called to start a job in ife, when his mother finds out she turned everything upside down,my husband stopped calling,he stopped sending money for my baby upkeep and myself and finally he told me to quit schooling and come back to lagos otherwise i loose the marriage again.I couldnt cope with upkeep of my 9months baby anymore since there was no financial support from my husband, so i went home to plead with my mother inlaw to have mercy on me, but she refused me,she told me to drop my baby and leave her son alone,by this time,my first child was already with her and my husband has packed out of our rented apartment back to his fathers house. She collected the child from me and went away. Ever since last year august,i have not set my eyes on my two children,my husband doesnt answer my calls, i have been alone like i never had a companion,anytime i travelled to lagos to see me my children,they will denie me access and tell me to go to court.
    Dear ma,this is the summary of my affliction, what do i do?
    Now am still in school,i still have two more sessions to graduate,should i quit schooling for this marriage to a man who doesnt love and care for me? Should i file a divorce and start my life afresh? If i file a divorce,can i be given access to my children pending the time am still in school and when i graduate and get a job,can i still fight for my children custody? these are all the questions i need an answer to. please ma help me out, all these situations around me are getting me freezed.

    • mz_agams Says:

      Finish your school. Get a job. Rent a place. Then go make a report first to social welfare department and then to the Human Rights Commission to have access to your children BEFORE you file for a divorce. And stop listening to pastors and prophets. Listen to that intuition that inner voice that already told you the truth when you are 14 and again when you were 19. That pastor ehn? God will surely not forgive him

  33. Michael Says:

    Good day ma, I really need your advise. I had a relationship that was none emotional purely physical let’s just say based on sex.I met this girl on social media called 2go.she schooled in uniben while I schooled in uniport this was by 2011 we made it known that that’s wat it’s going to be.she got pregnant but dnt tell me early abt it,it was when the pregnancy got to a month she told me.I told her to abort it she said she will but later called and told me her pastor told her to keep it.I told her I have no intention of marrying her that I dont want the baby.she still kept it.later she told her parents about it and they demanded to see me.I went and saw them I explained everything to them.we both live in the same state.after that I broke the news to my dad refused to have anything to do with the girls parents so he dnt show up,it was my mum who volunteer to see d parents.we concluded that I was not interested in marrying her,but my mum out of sympathy she assisted in paying the medical bill when she took in( a boy).since then my mum has been assisting her.early this year the girl called and told me someone wants to marry her and that person wants full ownership of the child ones they get married I told her to go ahead.I don’t want to have anything with her,is it possible for the person marrying her to take full ownership without me been in the picture?

    • mz_agams Says:

      her spouse can take custody as co parent with the mother, or he can adopt or be appointed the guardian. You would be required to sign any adoption papers

  34. Eluu Says:

    good day ma. pls can a United State citizen be a legal guardian of a Nigerian child? do the law permit him to travel to USA with the child and come back.

  35. Uche Says:

    Hello. I lost my wife some months ago. She had our last daughter who was just 4 months old before her death. My mother inlaw was present in my home when my wife passed on. Because my child was tender , she went back to her base with my child which I consented to. As soon as she went back with my child, she turned around to begin to accuse me that i was responsible for my wife’s death which I considered ridiculous. That’s another story all together. I have been denied access to my child ever since she took her. Now my child is 1 year 3months. I have requested in writing that I want back my child giving reasons that I need her to start school in September, need her to live and grow up with her elder sisters ( 6 yrs and 4yrs old), need her to process her passport. I did also inform them that my mother is willing to move into my house to help raise my child. After all this explanation which I believe I don’t owe to them, they still have refused to hand over the child to me…..please what should I do….why should my parent’s inlaws think they have a right over my child….

  36. Don't want to give my name Says:

    I am not a nigerian, I have been living in Nigeria for the past 18yrs.
    I meet a girl 5yrs back, the way we meet was not the best place or way to find love but I fell in love with her and asked to come stay with me.
    We stayed together for 5yrs in which we had our share of problems and we went away and came back together a few times.
    During these years I have taken care of all her expenses including school fees sending her to some professional cources, paid for her house rent in school bought her a car I basically took full responsibility of her expenses and honestly pushed her in getting a carrier for her self.
    I have made mistakes and she has made mistakes in this relationship.
    But as and when I realised that she had some kind a relationship going outside our relationship. It was painfull and heart breaking .I still tried to have the relationship and also offered to get married thinking that might solve our problems and give us and specially her a sense of confidences and security .
    She then complained of not getting pregnant in the relationship. I said to my self ok let’s have a baby that will make her to be with me for ever .
    Now we have a beautiful daughter .
    And she has turned her back completely on me .
    Just wanting to stay away
    And my role has become to pay for her house rent and pay money all the time in the name of child well fare.
    It is hard on me
    I can’t force her any more but I love my daughter is want to stay with my daughter and take care of her .
    As I said before we have both made our mistakes in this relationship and unfortunately stand at a junction were I don’t know what to do no more .
    I wish Everthing falls into place but it look impossible .
    I want to have fare share of my child’s time or if possible full custody .
    What’s the advice u can give me

  37. davina Says:

    pls ma i need ur help. i was in a relationship with a man who i tot was gud enough to b my husband. we were happy together, untill i got pregnant. everytin changed. am serving in nasarawa state. i visited him b4 leaving , we had little aguements nd he hit me nd tore my cloths to pieces. notminding my condition.while in service we kept on having problms, he wanted to come pay my dowry, but i refused nd my family said no until put to bed nd through with my service. he said we re not serious dat he cant wait . he put so much pressure on me dat i was almost going craizy. he abused me. called d baby a bastard. said i nd d baby were going to die in labour . nd i was so scared nd thanked God i was not leaving with him. but i still forgave him. after i put to bed. which he finacially supported me, bcos i begged for his support. it became worse. he abuses me over every little tin. he abused my mother, my sisters. called us pussyholes nd assholes.fools. called me cheap nd wayward. so i decided to to stop every communication wit him. for over five months now. he keeps sending me messages. abusing me. he said he dosnt need me. dat wht ge wants is his son. dat i wld b d one to loose. so i shld beta be wise nd allow him to marry m now. datsoon he will come for d boy, nd no body can stop him.dat i shld go to hell. i want to knw if he can really hav d boy? bcoz dis child cant be with him he is an abusive nd a decietful man. pls help me

  38. lesley Says:

    Hello, pls this case has really been an issue in the family. Pls, if the state welfare has granted you custody of your female child as a father and her mother has reluctantly refused to release the child to you, what do I do and what is the punishment for refusing to obey to the custody that was granted to me and besides this lady in question is already married to another man and lives with him

  39. chimo Says:

    good morning ma pls my am chimo, i was marring a police man but i had a female child we ve separated and he left that child for me with out taking care of the child and i ve went a social welfare and they invited the guy for the the first time but he did nt show and even for the second time the did not not show. and the welfare officers gave me the child custody of the child and they wrote the guy,s family and even their kindred and the said that the guy should be pay some of ten thousand naira to the social welfare for up keeping of the child both the child school fees and hospital bill, clothes of the child. and this happened since last yr and social welfare officers called me on monday last week and told me that the came and tell that the want the matter to be revisiting . then i ask the lady i hope that the child custody which ve been give to me is still authentic ad in that custody the said that the child will be with me till age of eighteen yrs. and do nt want my child to be with the man . i want to train my child on my own and that boy has married another wife an i do nt want another woman to train my child for me.

  40. chimo Says:

    then pls ma help me what should i tell them at the welfare

  41. naanlong thomas Says:

    good evening. what in the case the couple getting divorce, a relative is living with them and he is under 21. will he be recognised as a member of the family? nice work keep it up!!!

  42. we connect plus Says:

    Please ma, I got married to the father of my three children in 2010 not knowing he was so abusive. He abused me in many ways to the point that I nearly died so u left his house with my children. Before he married me, he was married before and have a daughter but the woman left cos he was abusing her too( I didn’t know till we got married). He lies so much and disrespect me so much. He is always telling people bad things about me to avoid them helping me. He insisted I shouldn’t work with my degree certificate and don’t provide for me. We have 2 boys and a daughter aged 5, 3 and 1. He is only interested in our male children and said he gives me the female child for free cos she’s a girl. Please an scared of losing my children to him and I don’t want them to suffer. He have a very bad reputation in him village and among his siblings. He can’t give my children a good upbringing because he always threaten to come take them and will make the hard hearted like him. Please how can I get custody of all my children because with him, they will never grow up to become normal children
    Please help me am really afraid for my boys.

  43. Ekoja Gerald Says:

    Good day ma. I need an advice from you. My sister was married to a military personnel and had three chidren (7, 5, 1 years old). He is a muslim and my sister is a Christian. He decided to issue a divorce to her three times at once according to his tradition, with reasons being that he is fed up since my sister suspects him too much. That was in February and my parents have been taking care of them. We later threaten to report the case to the military and he pleaded to give her monthly stipends for the upkeep of the children, of which he redeemed. The children were even allowed to visit him during school holidays. After their last visit to him in December, 2016, he came back and told my parents that he wants to take the children away to his mother to raise them up since we are christians. What would you advice we do ma?

  44. kiks Says:


    Please help me solve this case. I have a son is a year plus. Am married to d father for almost 2 years now, but things went sour so i moved out and rented my own flat with my son. The father comes sometimes to visit his son and sends small small money once in a blue moon. I now want to travel abroad to live with my sister there. I want to know how i can do that legally without obtaining divorce because i know divorce will take long and we have not done d 2-3 year separation time required. Can i do legal separatio with sole custody or will they refuse because i am a woman? Btw i am working and am already confortably supporting myself and child. I dont even want d fathers money.

  45. Makky Says:

    U did justice to d work. Kudos! My question is whether an application for custody of a child born out of wedlock can be brought at d high court. If yes pls under what section

    • mz_agams Says:

      For children born out of wedlock the Child’s Right Act 2003 would be the governing statute not the MCA, and how it is applied would depend on each state’s rules and procedures. In Lagos State I think its the magistrate court. The social welfare office of the state you live in is the first stop and they will be able to provide you with more information as to how to apply the CRA in your state.

    • mz_agams Says:

      Thanks for the comment too 🙂

  46. Elijah Odunayo Says:

    How do I get a good lawyer please help, a family member got impregnated guy and initial he accepted the pregnancy, after birth the lady was maltreated in the family house and was kicked out one early morning and the family of the guy did not bother to look for the baby or send any form of care at all. The baby was forgotten. Now, 12 years later the mother of the man says she wants to take custody of the child from the ladies family. Please Help Us oooh.We reside in Lagos Nigeria. contact details

    • mz_agams Says:

      See my latest blog post, Lagos state is one of the few states that has some sort of legal framework for such situations. You may not need a lawyer. Write to me at if you would like a fuller legal opinion or still want a recommendation for a lawyer in Lagos.

  47. Anonymous Says:

    Good evening ma. please does a man paying child support mean he has a right to come and take the baby in the future. he cleared the medical bills after delivery and his name is on the child’s birth certificate.

    • Ola Says:

      Hello Madam,
      I am currently seeking for the custody of my daughter who has been with her maternal parents since she was eight months because her mother went abroad to study. I paid all bills, now she is nine years old.

      In such matter as this is it legally alright for the court to ask this who will she wants to stay with?

      Thank you

      • mz_agams Says:

        She is still too young to ask who she wants to stay with. The courts don’t usually ask till the offspring is 15 and above. The issue that determines custody is not age but THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. You will need to show it is in child’s best interest.

        • Anonymous Says:

          Ma. please you haven’t replied me

          • mz_agams Says:

            My response is the same – the best interest of the child will determine who the child stays with. The fact that the father paid the medical bills DOES NOT give him the right to come and take the child at some time in the future. Please read my new post on child custody – and follow for updates on what that means.

          • Olu Says:

            Thank you very much for the prompt response I really appreciate the free legal advice. May God continue to strengthen you.

  48. ola Says:

    Hello ma, please m married for 2 years now and my baby is a year plus….my marriage seems unstable due to my husbands family trying to find fault with me and he is always on their side causing trouble all the time for both of us…. really tired of the marriage cause it seems there is no understanding….can I pls file for a divorce and also take custody of my baby without taking long processing. thank u

  49. Lawani Olusegun Says:

    My wife’s junior sister died during birth and the boy has been staying with us since he was 7 days old with the consent of the father, who claimed he had no family member that could take care of the baby. We also agreed that the baby will bear my name so he can enjoy HMO welfare packages. And also that he will be with us until he becomes a graduate. Now, the father has come to collect the child who is just 9 months old. The father has no home as he is squatting in a white garment church, using the auditorium to sleep at night. Mind you, there is no form of marriage between the father and mother before she died.

    Should we release the child to him, please?

    • mz_agams Says:

      Absolutely not! Custody s decided on the child’s best interest and the biological father obviously cannot provide that. Outside Lagos state it will also be very difficult for him to file a court action to take custody from you since there is no marriage and no locus standi. Even the social welfare office will only likely grant him access to visit but not custody. What state do you live in?

      • Lawani Olusegun Says:

        Thank you for your advice, ma. We leave in Lagos State. Also, the child’s birth certificate is in my name with the father’s consent so he can enjoy HMO welfare, pending the time we legalize the adoption as earlier agreed on with the father. But now that will be difficult.

        The father just came last month for the boy’s senior sister who is just 2 years old and she is staying with him at the white garment church. She was with her grand mother since after the death of her mother before the father came for her. Is it also ok for us to leave her with him?

  50. Agumadu Says:

    Good evening Madam,
    My younger brother got married to his heartthrob on December 2012.
    After the marriage he left for his base in the far north promising to come for his wife when he is fully settled. His wife agreed to stay with my parents while attending her school. But things quickly fell apart between her and my parents.
    She left within a month of their stay with a month pregnancy. My brother was caught in-between his parents and his wife. He spoke with his severely to go back home but she refused.
    To cut the long story short, she gave birth 2013 without them informing my brother. They are now asking for the marriage to be dissolved but my brother wants to have the custody of his child.
    He has not seen the child since he was brought into this world.
    Is it possible for him to have custody of the child? The child will be 4yrs by December

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