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Can My Husband Go To Jail If He Takes A Second Wife? What The Nigerian Law Says About Polygamy

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Yul Edochie

The recently announced second marriage of Yul Edochie after 17 years with his first wife, May Edochie, left a lot of women questioning their position in their homes.

While some applauded Yul’s decision to take the bold step of making his son’s mother his wife, others condemned him for betraying his first wife.

Perhaps Yul might have betrayed May morally but has he done anything wrong under the law ?

According to a lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Ogun contacted by Legit.ng, the act of getting married to another person while still married is known as Bigamy.

Ogun explained that there is no Nigerian law stopping a man from marrying more than wife, However, if a Nigerian man marries under the Marriage Act (aka court marriage), he runs the risk of committing bigamy and getting jailed.

His words: “Generally, getting married to another wife is a right that can be exercised by a man. It is supported by law, logic and public morality. There is no law in this country inhibiting a man from marrying more than one wife.

“The only exception to this is where the man contracted the marriage under the Marriage Act, popularly known as “court marriage”.

“A woman who does not want her husband to marry another wife must ensure that a statutory marriage is contracted. This bars the man to marry another wife – till death do the parties apart. If a man married under the Act dares to marry an additional woman, he puts himself at the risk of jail terms. This is supported by Section 46 and 47 of the Marriage Act.”

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