Know Your Rights.

‘Know Your Rights’ is a radio programme held every Monday of the week from 3:30pm to 4pm on New Cruse 92.7 F.M Ikere-Ekiti, sponsored by Justice, Development and Peace Initiative, JDPI, of the Catholic Diocese of Ekiti.

The Monday’s edition of 19th June, 2023 featured the JDPI Director, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Akingbade, who spoke on the status of using the title of Mr and Mrs by couples in a home.

Rev. Akingbade clarified that bearing children does not automatically confer one the status of Mr and Mrs, rather until the elements of engagement that has to do with dowry payment has been performed.

“Generally, everybody should know that child bearing doesn’t confer the status of Mrs to a person. When we go into the position under the law, we have been made to understand that Mr and Mrs is a social expression of social usage and application in a civilised society.

“Mrs is a courtesy title for any married woman. Here we are talking about marriage and Mrs is an expression of a marital status. Giving birth to a child for a person does not automatically confer that status.

“We have talked about customary marriage which is the marriage of engagement. If your marriage is limited to engagement not introduction, which does not confer any marital status but engagement. The elements in that engagement is the dowry payment. Under the customary law, it is that payment of dowry and acceptance of that dowry confers that status of Mrs customarily on the lady involved.

“In the church and the mosque, the places of worship it is by going through the rites. In the Catholic Church for example, it is exchange of consent “I take you” “I accept you”. In the court as well, it is still the same exchange of consent. You could give birth to children and you are still not that person’s wife.”

The JDPI Director also enlightened the public on ways of disengagement from an association between a man and a woman who didn’t fulfil dowry payment before bearing children.

While calling on the public to reach out to JDPI Ekiti for assistance, he enjoined citizens to know their rights and responsibilities on the issue of property acquisition as Mr and Mrs.

“For those who are married under the customary law, and you have issues related to the marriage, you go to customary court. If you are married under the act which we call registry marriage or the church, the marriage is recognised under the act, you go to the High Court to argue your case.

“In a situation whereby it involves a relationship between a man and a woman that are not married but the have issues and children, you go to the family court because the interest of the child/children is very important. Reach out to institutions like JDPI and you will be assisted.

“It has actually been settled. It happened in a case where the plaintiff sued as Mr and Mrs and the court said no that it does not confer legal personality. The court said its purely for social usage and application in a civilised society.

“A man and woman may not take an action with such titles as to suggest that they are one and the same person and not two people. It is a misnomer to take an action in such cases. Let’s be careful with the usage Mr and Mrs.”

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