Precious Chikwendu, the estranged wife of former aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode, has told the Court of Appeal in Abuja that her former husband lacks the capacity to cater for their four children.
Chikwendu alleged the oldest among their children has stopped school, and that their young triplets have yet to start schooling.
The former beauty queen and Fani-Kayode have been locked in a child-custody battle following their break-up in August 2020, TheNigeriaLawyer reports.
The plaintiff, who demands a monthly payment of N3.5 million for the upkeep of their four sons, had alleged in her suit before an Abuja High Court that Fani-Kayode, “beat her up on several occasions even while she was pregnant.”
Fani-Kayode had, through his lawyer, Adeola Adedipe, applied to Judge Sylvanus Orji of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Abuja to either strike out the suit or set aside the earlier purported service of the processes filed by Chikwendu on him.
But the court dismissed Fani-Kayode’s application and assumed jurisdiction to hear the case, a decision the ex-minister appealed at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
Justice Orji also ordered that a fresh hearing notice along with the originating motion be served on Fani-Kayode.
Displeased with the ruling, Fani-Kayode filed a notice of appeal dated March 25, 2021, alleging that the judge denied him a fair hearing.
Among his prayers, the former minister urged the Court of Appeal to make an “order remitting this case to the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court for reassignment and determination by another judge”.
Responding to the appeal in her filing at the Court of Appeal’s registry, Chikwendu alleged that the former aviation minister has maltreated their four sons since their separation.
In an affidavit dated June 28, 2021, Chikwendu attached photographs purportedly showing Fani-Kayode with his entourage visiting several state governors across Nigeria.
In other photographs, several ladies and the four children could be seen together with Fani-Kayode.
“The appellant (Fani-Kayode) employs nannies and different women whom I reasonably believe to be his girlfriends, and posts pictures of them together on various social media platforms all in a bid to spite me,” the court documents filed by Ms Chikwendu’s lawyer, Terkaa Aondo, read in part.
She accused Fani-Kayode of denying her access to their children since August 2, 2020, using security officials attached to him.
Chikwendu added that the former minister is fond of travelling and leaving the children at the mercy of his girlfriends and nannies, saying for that reason, he is unfit to take care of the four children.
“That I am worried about my children’s education status as my first son was stopped from going to school since August 2020, and the triplets who are due for school are not in school or given an education access.
“That as a young mother, I have been traumatised and physically assaulted by the appellant who is all out in a bid to forcefully take away the children from me and further delay this appeal.
“That there is a need that I preserve my right and interest and that of my children who are minors.”
She also alleged that should there be further delay in granting her application, the former minister “may make good his threat of relocating my four children out of the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court in which I will be denied a chance of ever seeing them again”.
Fani-Kayode has yet to file his response to the allegations.
The ex-minister and Chikwendu, who is a former beauty queen, got together around 2015 and subsequently welcomed a son in 2016. The couple welcomed a set of triplets in May 2018.