The police have arraigned a 35-year-old man, Simeon Ekwuruke, before a Lagos State Chief Magistrate’s Court for allegedly neglecting his 17-year-old ‘wife’ and denying her the necessities of life.
It was learnt that Ekwuruke and his wife (name withheld) were not legally married though she was living with him and they had been dating since she was in Junior Secondary School 2.
The teenager was said to have become pregnant when she was 13 years old, before she started living with Ekwuruke.
Within the space of four years, the couple were said to have had three children while living in their apartment on Ladafe Dada Street, Ikate, Surulere, Lagos.
The lady became pregnant with her fourth child, when Ekwuruke allegedly assaulted her, claiming he was not the father of the children.
The police said the victim alleged that Ekwuruke had also not fed her for the past two months.
He was consequently arrested and arraigned at the Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting at Ebute Meta, on one count of failure to provide for his household.
The charge read, “That you, Simeon Ekwuruke, between the month of September and October, 2014 at Ladafe Dada Street, Ikate Surulere, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, being charged with the duty of providing for (daughter), aged one and half years, and (wife), aged 17 years, the necessities of life, did unlawfully fail to do so, whereby their lives and health are likely to be endangered and thereby committed an offence.”
The police prosecutor, Corporal Cyriacus Osuji, said the offence was punishable under Section 245 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.
The section prescribes two years imprisonment for the offence.
Ekwuruke pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs. Demi Ajayi, said the case should be brought into her chamber because it was a family matter.
At the end of the private deliberation, the defendant was granted bail in the sum of N100,000 with one surety in like sum.
The chief magistrate also ordered that Ekwuruke, his ‘wife’, and the three children should go for a DNA test, to ascertain the paternity of the children.
The parties were told to maintain the status quo, while the case was adjourned till December 3, 2014.