Still, the question of whether the divorce should have gone through in Britain or in Nigeria was the initial problem, and the analysis presented below gives an overall summary of the situation.
Since the couple was originally from Nigeria, and the wife had been spending the majority of her time in Britain and had decided not to return to her home in Nigeria, she filed for divorce in Britain. Her husband, however, did not agree with this, and moved for a stay, stating that the proceedings should be decided in Nigeria. The following provides an overview of this case, and what and why the British court decided the way it did.
The two individuals involved in this case are from Nigeria, born in that country in 1948 and 1950 respectively. They were married by the law of the River State of Nigeria in 1979; the marriage at that time was considered valid and polygamous, since the husband had married at least two other wives prior to this one, and possibly two more after. Between this particular couple, there were four children, all born in the United Kingdom. All four children have been granted British citizenship. The husband in this particular case served in the Nigerian army, and became a General as well as becoming involved in the government following the military coup of 1983. During this time period, he was able to become quite wealthy. He was posted to Washington in 1990. The wife, on the other hand, had been a lawyer that had practiced in Nigeria. When her husband went to Washington, she proceeded to take classes at Queen Mary College in London, spending time either at school, in Nigeria, or with her husband. She had obtained multiple entry visas and was able to come to Britain for up to six months at a time until March of 1997.
Another coup occurred in November 1993, and the husband did not agree with the new ruler, General Abacha. Therefore, he left the army and decided to leave Nigeria for Britain. The couple then proceeded to establish a domestic home here. The husband was able to obtain a four year work permit that would allow him to remain in the country for that time. The wife was also allowed to stay for a longer period of time than her multiple entry visa originally allowed. After this, the husband was given indefinite leave to stay in Britain because of two of the children. The wife was out of the country, in Florida at the time, and was not included in this decision. When she wanted to return, she was allowed to enter for one day, but she stayed longer. This meant that she had become an over-stayer and was violating sections 24(1)(b) and 24A of the Immigration Act 1971. However, she was eventually granted indefinite leave, but only after the case between she and her husband had started.
In June 1998, General Abacha died, so the husband came back to Nigeria to once again pursue politics. He eventually became a Senator in the Upper House of the Nigerian Parliament. However, he still made trips to Britain so that he could visit his wife and children. However, as time passed, the wife in this case gave up hope of coming back to her home country as the most important wife to the husband, and therefore decided to stay in Britain.
The wife then issued a divorce petition on July 17, 2000. When she did that, she only focused on her current residence in Britain to discover the court jurisdiction; this was later fixed to add a claim