Facts have emerged at the weekend that the ground on which Pastor Anita Oyakhilome is seeking to divorce her husband, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, the President of Believers’ Love World Inc., popularly known as Christ Embassy, is not adultery but on behaviours that suggest that she cannot ‘reasonably be expected’ to live with him.
There had been media reports that Anita decided to divorce Pastor Chris based on allegations of ‘adultery’ and ‘unreasonable behaviours’ but a copy of the court papers for the divorce process filed at the Principal Registry of the Family Division (PRFD) of the High Court of Justice in possession of THISDAY, revealed that she applied for “divorce on the ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.”
In her statement of case in support of petition at PRFD with number FD14001650, Pastor Anita however, accused her husband of having inappropriate relationship with some of his female staff members.
According to the statement, “the wife has discussed with the husband his appropriate relationship with some of his female staff members. She has explained that this has given her cause for concern. The husband has minimised her worries and taken no step to alleviate her grievances.”
In fact, the statement indicated no allegation of adultery as there was no co-respondent to the petition and no names were mentioned.
Dictionary.com defines adultery as “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse.”
The statement reads in part: “The wife submits that her marriage to the husband has irretrievably broken down and there is no hope of reconciliation. The wife will submit that it is the husband’s unreasonable behaviours which have led to this.
“The husband and the wife are both Pastors. The husband undertakes his work, in the main, in South Africa and Nigeria. The wife lives in the United Kingdom. The wife will say that they have lived separately for 16 years and over this time have drifted apart. The wife has come to realise that the husband will only visit the UK for annual church programmes that he holds rather than to be with this wife. The wife feels that he has been unavailable as a father to their children during their developing years.
“The wife feels that their marriage suffered under the pressure of their work. They would rarely spend time together due to the husband unavailability. Special occasions such as Christmas, Birthdays and family occasions and anniversaries past them by and their rarely spent any time together as a family as the husband was more devoted to his work than he was to them.
“The wife feels that she has been used to portray and enhance the husband’s image as a family man when the reality is that there is no existing relationship between them. She feels that she has been present for official functions simply for his convenience. On occasions she has been copied into his travel itinerary which has been given to him by his staff on a need to know basis.
“The wife has tried to discuss her concerns with the husband. He claims that she is carnal and he is insensitive to her feelings and her needs.”
“As a result of the husband’s attitude to their marriage, the wife will say that he is virtually not recognised as a married man in the ministry. His teachings and beliefs on marriage is that the husband is a master and a controller and the wife will say that his concept of biblical; submission is so extreme that it is impossible for her to meet his expectations. She feels humiliated by the way he treats her in the presence of his close female staff members and she feels that she has been taken for granted which has become unbearably stressful for her.
“The wife will say that the relationship with the husband is non-existent to the point that his itinerary which was announced publicly at the beginning of the year had no provision for time with his family. His staff members who travel with him organise both his personal and professional life without any input from her. The wife will say that she is treated with disregard almost like akin to an intruder.
“The wife feels that she has been mentally, physically and emotionally deprived of the experience of a marital relationship. She feels that the husband has persistently judged her and his communication with her has been unduly harsh. The wife knows that he was hard to please and has been extremely critical.
“The wife reserves the right to expand on all of these particulars if the divorce petition is defended.”