Barristers & Solicitors
Ogun State High Court transfers divorce petition to Oyo State High Court due to Bad Roads and the Menace of Fulani herdsmen and Kidnappers

Justice Tajudeen Okunsokan of the High Court, Sagamu, has granted an application by the Respondent/Cross-Petitioner, Mrs Modupeola Aluko, for the transfer of the divorce petition instituted against her by her husband, Mr Sunny Aluko from the High Court of Ogun State sitting in Sagamu to High Court of Oyo State in suit HCS/50/2021 between Aluko Vs Aluko.

The application was supported with nine (9) grounds to wit:

1. Although this Honourable Court undoubtedly has jurisdiction to hear and determine the petition because of the Matrimonial Causes Act, the High Court of Oyo State also has jurisdiction to hear and determine the Petition.

2. It is in the interest of justice for the High Court of Oyo State to hear and determine the Petition.

3. Both parties and the children are residents in Ibadan, Oyo State and the strain, stress, health, and financial inconveniences involved in going to Sagamu, particularly with the ill-health status of the Respondent/Applicant, will be better than the cause be heard in the High Court of Oyo State.

4. The schooling and welfare of the Children being minors, would be disturbed if the Respondent had to travel to Sagamu to defend the suit.

5. It will be difficult for the Respondent/Applicant to leave her duty post at the University College Hospital for two days to be at the High Court in Sagamu to defend the suit, as her employer has issued her a final warning for attending the last court session. If she leaves her job to participate in subsequent proceedings, the Respondent will lose her job.

6. The Roads from Sagamu are bad and insecure due to the menace of the Fulani herders and Kidnappers; therefore, in the interest of protecting the life of the Respondent/Applicant as well as that of the Petitioner, it would be better to hear the Petition at the High Court of Oyo State.
7. As a salary earner, the Respondent cannot afford to lodge herself and her Attorney in a hotel every time she needs to attend the court proceeding in Sagamu, as continuing to do so would affect the upkeep of the children. As a mother, she would not want anything to affect the maintenance of the children.

Again, the financial implication of paying her Attorney, who would be coming from Ibadan transport fares to Sagamu, would drain her meagre salary.

8. The transfer would avoid unnecessary expenses and delay to the parties involved, and granting the transfer will not prejudice the Petitioner.

9. The Honourable Court has jurisdiction under the Matrimonial Causes Act to transfer this Petition to the High Court of Oyo State for determination.

The applicant counsel, Omoniyi Odeyemi, in his submission before the court, stated that apart from the interest of the children of the marriage, it will also be in the interest of the parties to be heard at the Oyo State High Court because of the bad roads to Sagamu and the menace of kidnappers/Fulani herdsmen on the road to Sagamu.

The petitioner/respondent counsel, in his response, argued that the court can dispense with the presence of the respondent at the pre-trial stages as long as the respondent counsel is in court and that her presence is only required when she is to give her evidence hence no need to lodge in a hotel because of this case.
In considering the issue of bad roads and insecurity, the court held that “The contention of the Petitioner that the presence of the Respondent in Court can be dispensed with is speculative, and speculation has no place in the Courts as neither the parties and the Court is permitted or entitled to speculate anything.”

The Court further held that the Petitioner/Respondent did not controvert the Respondent/Applicant’s deposition that the roads from Sagamu are bad and insecure due to the menace of Fulani herdsmen and kidnappers. The Petitioner/Applicant is deemed to have admitted the same.

It was also the view of the court that “it is not only in the interest of the parties but also in the interest of the children of the marriage that this case be heard and determined in a place that will not put the life of any of the two parents of the children of the marriage in jeopardy or risk arising from bad roads from Sagamu and insecurity due to the menace of Fulani herdsmen and kidnappers.

In granting the application, the Court also considered Exhibit A attached to the affidavit in support of the application by which the Respondent’s employer gave her the first and final warning for leaving her duty post on 10th and 11th January 2022 to attend proceedings in this case before this court and that subsequent attendance of the court case would lead to the termination of her employment and the court concluded that the Respondent/Applicant subsequent presence before this Court to attend proceedings, in this case, will cost her her job.

In the final determination of the application, it was held that it is meritorious, and the Court ordered that the petition suits HCS/50/2021 between Aluko Vs Aluko be transferred to the Ibadan Judicial Division of the High Court of Oyo State for adjudication.

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