Child custody: Court upholds Fani-Kayode’s rejection of papers

Femi Fani-Kayode and Precious Chikwendu

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Apo, Abuja on Friday upheld the rejection of court documents by former aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode in a child custody suit filed by his estranged wife Precious Chikwendu.

Justice Sylvanus Oriji agreed with Mr Fani-Kayode’s lawyer Adeola Adedipe that although there was evidence the ex-minister was aware of the suit and saw the court documents, there was no evidence that he was served in person as required by law.

The judge, however, rejected Fani-Kayode’s prayer that the court should decline jurisdiction to hear the suit on account of improper service.

Justice Oriji, therefore, upon an application for withdrawal by the plaintiff’s lawyer E. D. Moi-Wuyep, ordered the service of hearing notice and the originating processes on the respondent.

He also adjourned till April 21, 2021 for the hearing of the substantive suit.

Chikwendu is seeking custody of the four children produced by the marriage, “but with reasonable right of access granted to the respondent (Fani-Kayode).”

She is also praying the court to restrain Fani-Kayode and his agents “from forcibly abducting” the children from her custody, and that the court should order the ex-minister to pay her N3.438million monthly for the upkeep of the children and additional sums for their education and other ancillary expenses.

She said the children, who are all bellow six years, have been emotionally traumatised since August 2, 2020 when they were separated from her.

In an affidavit supporting the suit, the former beauty queen said she met Fani-Kayode in 2014 when she was 24 years old, following which she moved into his house at No. 5, Zuma Close, Off Udi Hills Street, Aso Drive, Abuja.

She also alleged that Fani-Kayode subjected her to both verbal and physical abuses during their six-year relationship.