Special Report: COVID-19 Ended Marriages, Destroyed Homes

The economic impact of COVID-19 did not only result in some persons losing their jobs and not being able to provide for their families, but led to bringing marriages to an end and destroying homes. This is even as those affected by the family breakups are recounting their losses and struggling to survive the predicament.

In interviews conducted by the MAWA FOUNDATION in communities in Nasarawa state, there were recorded cases of some marriages that got terminated and families destroyed as a result of COVID-19 that threw up an economic crisis that became difficult for the families to manage and uphold resilience against the pandemic.

Speaking to MAWA, Mr. Philip Zauda, at his Gidan Zakara resident in Karu Local Government of Nasarawa state, still in pains and frustration, narrated how his wife divorced him and left for her village because he could not provide for her as a result of the economic predicament thrown at him by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zauda told MAWA that one month after he cannot provide food for his family, his wife said she cannot bear the pain of hunger, dumped him, and went back to her parents in the village.

Zauda who said he works at construction sites told MAWA that as soon as the coronavirus pandemic began all construction sites closed down while he had no job and income since the lockdown began.

This is even as he explained that he makes between N6, 000 to N8, 000 daily from construction sites, but, disclosed that since the COVID-19 began, he has been at home and makes no money while his predicament continues to worsen.

“Before the COVID-19 began, I made between N6k and N8k daily from construction sites, but since the pandemic surfaced, I had made no money and hunger forced my wife to divorce me making me lose my family,” Zauda told MAWA.

“My wife dumped me and returned to her parents she said she can’t die of hunger, it is not her fault, hunger really hit her bad during the lockdown”

“You can imagine as I speak to you now I have no penny to my name, this is a man that makes good money every day, and how does one begin to explain this situation.

 “My situation is even more frustrating because I am going to start life afresh, my wife has since dumped me, I will have to look for money to marry another wife when things get better” Zauda said.

In the same trend, Women at the Koroduma community area of Nasarawa are recounting how COVID-19 is leading to divorce in many homes. Some of the women who spoke to MAWA FOUNDATION at their respective residence narrated how some marriages have come to an end as a result of the economic crisis thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs. Umeh, while speaking to the MAWA team, said the economic difficulty brought by coronavirus has led to many divorces in her area.

“In Koroduma here, I know of five families that have divorced because of COVID-19, their husbands lost jobs and could not provide for their family, their wives not willing to suffer poverty and hunger left them,” Umeh said.

“One of them a close friend is from Ogoja, in Cross Rivers”, Umeh added.

Monica Abu, who spoke to the MAWA team, narrated how her friend divorced her husband because of the challenges thrown at her by the COVID-19.

Abu said her friend’s husband was sacked by a bank, and two months after his sack, things became so tough that his wife could not bear the poverty and hunger and she packed her load and return to her parents in Jos, the Plateau state capital.

Another resident Mr. Uwuam, told the MAWA team that his wife divorced him because of the COVID-19. Uwuam who said he married two months before the pandemic disclosed that his wife left him two months after he was sacked by his employer and could not provide food and took care of other basic things.

He, however, said that the worst thing that had happened to him is the pandemic, angry; Uwuam said he lost his job and wife to the pandemic, a situation he said has since rendered him hopeless and miserable.

Uwuam told MAWA team that he is not the only one in the mess, pointing out that three other men he knows, had their wives packed and left them when they could not take care of the home financially because of the challenge the COVID-19 threw at them.

At the Masak area of Nasarawa state, two couples that lived at the Tundun Wada area, separated when the husband could not provide food for the family as a result of the COVID-19 economic crisis.

Mrs. Margret Moses, who was married to Mr. Timothy Moses, divorced him over his inability to provide food for his households when he lost his job during the lockdown.

Miss. Mercy, who narrated the incident to MAWA, disclosed that Margret has since sent her three kids to her mother in the village at Obudu in Cross Rivers State while she is staying at Masaka as a single mother.

She added that Mr. Moses, the husband has since gone back to the village and has gotten married to another woman, which is a confirmation they have gone their separate ways, and their divorce stands forever.

Mercy, however, told the MAWA team that Margret and Timothy are not the only couples that separated as a result of the coronavirus economic crisis.

She pointed out that she knows about two families that have since separated as a result of the coronavirus economic crisis.

When MAWA sought Margret’s explanation, she confirmed the divorce while pointing out that she could not cope with the severe poverty and hunger that became predominant in her house as a result of the coronavirus economic crisis.

She added that her husband should be happy because she divorced him, pointing out that she saved him from dying.

“Mr. Timothy should be grateful to God because I divorced and took the load off him, if I had stayed, he would have died of frustration COVID-19 put him while trying to provide to his family,” Margret said.

“We are still bonded together, he is the father of my three kids, but am sorry the circumstances COVID-19 threw at us demand we go our separate ways,” Margret said.

Mr. Olalekan David while speaking to MAWA FOUNDATION narrated how the COVID-19 economic crisis forced him to end his marriage.

Mr. Olalekan a graduate of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and teaches ICT at the Flobam British School, Keffi in Nasarawa state told MAWA that he was forced to end his marriage as a result of the economic crisis thrown at him by the coronavirus pandemic.

Olalekan explained that he has not been paid salary since lockdown and, because of that he has was forced to end his marriage.

“As a teacher, I have not received salaries since the coronavirus started, and that has since forced me to end my marriage,” Olalekan said.

Mr. David Ugwo has since dumped his wife and four children and disappeared over his inability to provide for the family as a result of COVID-19.

His wife Mrs. Agnes Ugwo, while confirming the incident told MAWA FOUNDATION in a telephone conversation that it has been months since her husband disappeared with no trace.

Mrs. Ugwo said her husband who is a taxi driver could not bear the pain of his four children crying of hunger; hence he disappeared without telling anybody.

Ugwo said they have called his telephone numbers repeatedly and none of the numbers went through.

She, however, added that she had called her husband’s relatives and informed them of the development, while they have been calling him and trying to find out his whereabouts but to no avail.

Agnes explained that since the coronavirus lockdown, her husband has been finding things difficult and has not been able to make a penny, pointing out how their neighbours at their Mararaba residence in Nasarawa state had on different occasions assisted them to eat food.

Agnes, however, added that before the coronavirus lockdown, her husband made between N4k to N5k every day, but said, he has not made a penny since the coronavirus lockdown commenced.

She, however, told MAWA that she is not angry with her husband, pointing out that her husband will commit suicide if he stays and watches his four children cry of hunger.

“Since we got married getting to 17 years now, there was no time we had this kind of hardship like this COVID-19 pandemic, I am sure many households are suffering the same fate,” Agnes said.

This report is supported by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa OSIWA

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