Divorce: Nigerian movies that distort reality and mislead Nigerians

Inibehe Effionga Nigerian lawyer and rights activist, has blamed nollywood filmmakers for distorting reality and misleading Nigerians divorce and alimony processes in the country. Effiong had this to say during an interview with PREMIUM TIMES in Lagos on Thursday. His comments came on the heels of a recent Twitter thread in which Nigerians blamed Nollywood, Instagram comedians and celebrities for the increasing cases of broken marriages, moral decay and rituals in society. During the interview, the fierce lawyer, who has sued the federal government over the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria in July 2021, pointed out that most Nigerians have a misconception of divorce, as most movies tend to to be economical with reality. He noted: “There is no place in the law for spouses to simply sign divorce papers and end their marriages, just like that.” He described it as a “legal fiction popularized by Nollywood”. Among other issues, Effiong emphasized that some Nigerian filmmakers continue to make these mistakes or misrepresent the facts because they ignore them. He said: “What this does is that the unsuspecting mind, especially the young, would be misled due to the filmmakers’ misrepresentation of reality. Therefore, it is important that they reflect on this and also that their content is not only beneficial to society, but also a true reflection of society.” The legal fiction of divorce Speaking further, Mr. Effiong said that while there is no empirical evidence that Nollywood movies influence the divorce rate in Nigeria, practitioners are to blame in some areas. “Nigerian movies give the impression that one can leave a marriage simply by signing a piece of paper, which is not really the case,” he said. Reinforcing his point, Mr. Effiong explained that Nigerian movies are misleading people into thinking that a legal marriage can be annulled without proper legal procedures. He also cited examples proving that customary marriages are not simply annulled without going through customary courts or authorities. Nigeria Divorce Laws The ‘Matrimonial Causes Act’ of 1970 and the ‘Marital Causes Rules’ of 1983, which are primarily the laws governing matrimonial cases such as divorce, annulment and legal separation in Nigeria, state that the sole ground for divorce in Nigeria is that the “marriage has irretrievably collapsed.” However, the Act under Section 15 (2) (ah) and Section 16 provides that the petitioner must prove specific facts upon which grounds for dissolution of marriage may arise. These facts are contained in subsections of eight paragraphs, which are the main grounds for divorce, and a party seeking a divorce in Nigeria is only required to state only one of them in court. In Nigeria, some conditions for divorce are deliberate and persistent non-consummated marriage (marriage without sexual intercourse is not marriage at all), adultery, or cruelty. Others are the abandonment of the marital home without justification or consent of the couple for seven years or intolerable acts. Additionally, both spouses must live apart for at least three years immediately preceding the divorce case before the court can annul the marriage. AGN reacts Actors Guild of Nigeria president Emeka Rollas told our correspondent that the AGN is aware of allegations that Nollywood is influencing divorce rates, ritual murders and other social vices. However, he added that the union would soon take a stand through its authority on the matter. Mr. Rollas said that the union’s position would be made public shortly and that he would authoritatively address these outstanding issues facing the union. Read More Related News Here Let here it in the comment below if you do have an opinion on this; Divorce: Nigerian movies that distort reality and mislead Nigerians