Maria Odeh, a 2004 Theatre Arts graduate of Benue State University, her
joy overflowed when she got married to her 37-year-old heartthrob,
Joseph Odeh in April, 2007, shortly after completion of the mandatory
national youth service scheme.
deployed for the programme, and was consumed by a sizzling love affair
which transformed to marriage in no distant time. As she signed the
dotted lines on the altar, thoughts of an uninterrupted and lively union
overwhelmed her, as she danced to the glory of God for giving her a man
of her dreams.
as the couple settled down at Akwanga, Nasarawa State, and Maria
professed her husband’s true love to friends and relations at any
opportunity. Her only worry was that she is unable to bear a child,
years after their marriage. The couple had sought medical help at the
General Hospital, Akwanga, where Joseph was said to have been diagnosed
of low sperm count which was treated and normalized in three months.
reproductive organs okay after conducting series of tests, she was
unable to conceive thereafter. Her consolation, however, was that her
spouse did not betray signs of desperation and frustration as the search
for the fruit of the womb continued.
been stretched to the limits manifested seven years into the marriage,
but she least expected the events that unfolded. “About three years
back, precisely towards the end of 2013, my husband suddenly lost
interest in me. Whenever I touched him at night, he gave me one
complaint or another. It is either he is tired or not in the mood”, she
recalled in an interview with Saturday Sun.
secret romance with Joy Agbo, her 24-year-old younger sister who she
relocated earlier in the year from her village in Ogbadibo Local
Government Area of Benue State to live with them at Akwanga. In her
determination to ensure she played her expected role after the demise of
their mother, Maria secured admission for her sibling at the College of
Education, Akwanga, to study Business Education.
her studies, Joy indulged in illicit sexual affair with her sisters’
hubby. She was away from home daily from dawn to dusk, having secured a
job with Patriotic Health Organization, a non-governmental outfit. She
had been unemployed for several years, during which she sold second-hand clothes.
realisation that her beloved husband had betrayed the love and trust she
invested in him by not only having an affair with Joy, but also
impregnating her. To worsen matters, her husband is resolute on marrying
her younger sister, and has shown her a red card if she is unwilling to
accept his weird idea.
as secretary and most times, had to leave home very early in the morning
for either Keffi or Lafia, as the job demanded, and closed late by
7.pm. I didn’t know how it happened, but in June this year, I noticed
that my younger sister’s breasts increased in size and she looked very
heavy. On a close examination, I discovered she was four months pregnant
and when I probed further, she told me Joe was responsible for it. I
asked her which Joe? She said your own Joe, my husband, but I did not
believe it. When I confronted my husband at night, he confirmed it and
went ahead to tell me he would marry her; he said if I can’t tolerate
it, I should pack my belongings and go. I screamed and cried, and almost
died of shock; I immediately called my people on phone and told them
what has happened”, she said, sobbing.
confusion on her inability to conceive for her husband, more so, as
doctors had certified her fertile, and she had no cause to discreetly
seek proof through an extra marital affair. “Even my people are as
confused as I am; they keep calling me to ask what I wanted to do. After
wide consultations with my friends, I am considering divorce. But I
will re-marry if I find a genuine person, I can’t stay alone; I need a
gentle man to settle down. I will soon file a divorce suit so that I can
start a new life; I will definitely remarry if an honest man comes my
way, though I won’t be in a hurry,” she said.
has no qualms even as he pointed at the devil for committing the act,
which in another breathe, he described as divine. Last week, Joseph
affirmed his resolve to marry his sister-in-law in a chat with our
correspondent. “I have told my wife that I am responsible for the
pregnancy of her sister, and now that she is pregnant for me, she cannot
abort it, though it was the devil’s work; if she is not comfortable
with it, she can go. We have been married for 10 years, no child; if her
people want me to pay the pride price for Joy, I will do it. It is
unfortunate, but that is the reality. I’m not a womanizer; I don’t drink
beer, ask my friends. I don’t keep girlfriends outside; I don’t know
how it happened, but my affair with Joy is divine intervention”, he
declared his unwillingness to dine with the devil, not even with a long
spoon. “We are not in support of what happened, and cannot collect bride
price again, from him. I lack words to express my feelings, but I have
asked Maria to file a divorce suit; she can’t stay in that house again.
For me, I have disowned Joy; she is no longer my daughter. If their
mother was alive, she would have supported my position. What Joy and
Joseph did is an abomination in our tradition; let them stay together.
It is only God that will resolve this shameful matter”, he told Saturday Sun on telephone.
the incident, and is prepared for the worst. “I deeply sympathise with
my sister, but Joe told me not to worry about anything, that the issue
will be resolved. Since my sister is ready to divorce him, I will keep
the pregnancy”, she said, as she gave a blow-by-blow account of how it
all happened. Hear her:
this year. That afternoon, when my sister had gone to work and her
husband came home from his shop to pick up some items. I was sleeping in
the sitting room, and because I was not expecting any of them to return
home soon, I didn’t put on pants and my chest was open; in fact I was
naked because I was feeling hot. I suddenly slept off, but forgot to
lock the entrance door and Joe came in unexpectedly.
me naked, he must have been moved to a point that he couldn’t control
his libido. Before I realised it, he was already on me with his lip on
my breast; my efforts to push him off me failed, and he had sex with me.
Before then, he used to take me out to supermarkets, and fast food
spots; we became very close, but he never approached me and I didn’t
expect such from him, though he kept telling me he was desperate to talk
and begged me not to tell anybody; he said it was the devil’s work, but I
cried and vowed to tell my sister when she returned; he begged me and
promise not to do it again. That day, he gave me N20, 000 for my
shopping, and I promised him I wouldn’t tell anybody about what
was a dream. A few days after, he invited me for an outing and somehow,
convinced me and we started making love regularly, as if it was a charm.
We were madly in love, and he bought a mobile phone worth N40, 000 for
me. At night when he is in his room with his wife, I will be chatting
with him from my room; somehow, I became pregnant for him.
because the harm has already been done; I apologised to my sister, but
she doesn’t talk to with me any longer. I don’t know what is on her
mind, but for me, I will deliver the baby and further my education to
the university. I deeply sympathise with my sister, but Joe told me not
to worry about anything, that the issue will be resolved. Since my
sister is ready to divorce him, I will keep the pregnancy; my people are
not in support of what I’m doing but they have no choice. It is not my
wish, but that is the reality. For me, I love Joseph because he is
caring and lovely”.
Maria as darkness and despondency set into her once blissful marriage.
Things are no longer at ease with her, Joe and her younger sister, Joy.
Enveloped in a cloud of uncertainty, she spoke of her moments of joy
with Joseph, who also hails from Benue, her home state. Both are of
university, I was posted to Kano State for my NYSC, where Joseph who had
earlier completed his service and was working as farm manager at Wodi
Farms where he served and was retained. I fell in love with him, because
he has a charming personality; he exuded an air of confidence, and his
poise was breathtaking. He swept me off my feet right from the first day
I met him at a market in Kano. We became lovers and our days of
beautiful romance were the happiest moments of my life; I was on top of
the world and really acted like a girl in love. I married him and was
the happiest woman on earth; I love him and he loved me too, but
suddenly, all that crashed in one irrational moment”, she lamented. Sad!