On independence day this year, my cousin and I spoke about her ex-boyfriend who was having his marriage introduction that same day. If you don’t mind, let me tell you a short story..
My cousin is an amazing 28 years old lady (amazing not just because she is my cousin), who had been in a relationship with a certain man she met for 5 years. She’s a type of person that believes in one man one woman type of relationship. That’s to say she was faithfully dating him even when she was in the University.
Early this year, when she was posted to Abuja for her youth service, her supposed boyfriend started misbehaving.. Didn’t even call to know if she had gotten to Abuja safely, didn’t call through out her stay in the camp (3weeks) and like every woman in love, she found excuses for him.
Well they started communicating well again until in the month of June when she started receiving threat messages from a girl on Facebook who claimed to be her boyfriends new girlfriend. She would rain abuses on her and even went to the extent of blocking my cousin off from her boyfriends Facebook.. When my cousin called her ‘supposed’ boyfriend, he denied everything until my cousin sent him screen shots of the type of messages she got from the lady. Well I would say he was a smart guy and found it easy to tell stories.. Well long story short, he confessed and apologized and also promised to send the lady out of his house… Now you see, my  cousin was hoping and feeling she had a boyfriend meanwhile the young man was living with another.. Well it was a big deal and he had to come over to Abuja to see her, apologize and speak to my parents about his intentions to marry my cousin (evidence of promise to marry). Well my sister and I interrogated him and we spoke at length about the wedding even if we were skeptical about that topic. On my part, I warned my cousin not to accept him back let alone talk about a wedding. Maybe because I was taking from experience or maybe I wasn’t buying his little lies. But the truth is when a woman is in love, especially a faithful one, she doesn’t think with her head but her heart.
In the month of August, he started acting out again. I don’t know if the distance was aiding it, but to me it wasn’t an excuse. A cheat is a cheat. He stopped calling, wouldn’t pick up her calls when he finally did, he would say he was busy. Yes too busy not to have called or picked up the your calls in weeks. My cousin decided not to call and pick up his calls for two weeks and the next thing we saw was a change in his face book status (in a relationship with…..the newest girl). Today as I write to you, he has gone for her marriage introduction and would be getting married soon….
What a bitter sad story right? Well yea.. As much as I would’ve loved to tell her to let go and that his not the one, the pain of betrayal and the long time wasted on a failed relationship, set my cousin into a depressing mood.. She’s better now though but I know she still feels hurt. On Sunday being October 1st the marriage introduction day, her exact words were “I feel like my heart is going to pop out ” 
I wished she had seen the signs earlier it could’ve been less painful.. I spoke to her about thanking God for the things that never happened.. Thank God for that marriage you never got into. Thank God for those days he never picked or called you back… Well after speaking about the spiritual part of what had happened, as a lawyer in making, I told her about the legal aspects of what just happened and what she can do…
Well yeah! I wasn’t joking.. She could sue him for breach of promise to marriage. Is he worth it, I don’t know but she needed to know there is something she could do about it.
Nigerian law states that an agreement to enter into a marriage should leave nobody in doubt as to the real intention of the parties to enter into a marriage. A mere convivial or romantic relationship without more is not enough for a court to found an agreement to marry. In essence, there must have been a promise to marry. A promise to marry can be a “betrothal”, an “engagement to be married” also termed “agreement to marry”. Such agreement need not also be formal such as a written agreement as it may also be oral (which he did by telling my parents, my sister and I). 

For the purpose of proving a claim, two elements are necessary to constitute a breach of agreement or promise of marriage. First, the party jilted must prove to the satisfaction of the court that there was in fact a promise of marriage under the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1990, or under Islamic Law or under Customary Law, on the part of the other sex. Second, the party reneging has really, and as a matter of fact, failed or refused to keep to the agreement of marriage.

In proving that there was a breach of promise to marry, the claim must be corroborated by another witness or other material evidence such as correspondences and communications, as the law specifically states corroboration is required in actions of breach of promise of marriage. The reliefs you can seek in court shall however be limited to damages as the court cannot compel anyone to marry another. Extent of damages for such breach is however at the discretion of the court.

Damages awarded by courts fall under the following categories: general damages e.g. compensation for the loss of consortium of the other party; injured feelings, wounded pride, etc ; special damages affecting property e.g for money spent or financial loss sustained by the plaintiff as a direct result of the defendant’s breach of the promise to marry; recovery of the engagement ring and presents. An interesting thing to note is that damages could also be claimed against a third party who induced the breach. (The above was written by Adedunmade Onibokun).. 

If you are my cousin, would you sue him for breach of promise to marriage? 

Well incase you have any doubt if this particular law has been used by anyone, you could just Google decided cases in the breach of promise to marriage. 

Probably when we know of this laws, we would be more careful in the things we do or say…, 

I would like to know what you would do if you were in her (my cousin’s) position… Never the less, no one is worth putting you into depression. Just remember there is a reason for everything… Trust God. 

It’s all about you…. Never forget that. 



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  1. Wow, ur cousin is emotionally traumatised but legally speaking, I’ll advice ur cousin to sue if she has substancial evidences on ground but I will equally speak about two latín maxims;
    1. Dam Núm sin injuria ( legal injury without damage?
    2. Injuria sin damnun (injury without legal damage)
    If the injury incured on ur cousin did not not cause legal damage, her arguement will not hold water based on the fact that there is no legal damage, Which means a man is at liberty to woo a girl that is more sophisticated than his girlfrnd but if the injury incured on her is legal, she shld sue, im sure she will recover damages incured on her.

  2. Well quite a sad story
    Men are scum
    I don’t blame her for letting go
    Karma is a bitch….I ll let go and let karma do it’s work….
    I ll make a scene on his wedding day if the pain is unbearable cos sometimes to move on….one needs closure

  3. Wow it’s really a sad story. Sorry to ur cousin. Well u ask wat would I do if it were me, to say d truth I DON’T KNOW. As for the sue dat is a waste of time and money and she will be more depressed Dan she is already. Pls let her knw dat all is well, I knw dis kind of tin is painful but she should think of it as a sign from God dat he is not the one for her. Well she should have seen the signs from the 1st mistake but like u sed pple in love think with their hearts and not their head.
    Well done as usual.
    Keep it up.

  4. Hmmmmm… Indeed very painful. Also a waste of time and resources to sue. I would say she should try to let go and move on…although it is usually not easy considering the faithfulness and commitment. The days ahead are always brighter and more beautiful.. It can only get better.

  5. It hurts to wait and trust on someone and at the end disappoints You, especially a spouse…. For me she should be thankful for the things that hasn’t happened according to the writer. Thanks for sharing this legal advice on how to go about cases like this….

  6. It hurts to wait and trust on someone and at the end disappoints You, especially a spouse…. For me she should be thankful for the things that hasn’t happened according to the writer. Thanks for sharing this legal advice on how to go about cases like this….

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