The estranged wife of the former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, Precious Chikwendu, has told the Court of Appeal in Abuja that her former husband lacks the capacity to cater for their four children.
She said she is worried that Mr Fani-Kayode entrusts their four sons in the care of nannies and his girlfriends.
She alleged that with Mr Fani-Kayode always travelling away from home, the oldest among the children has stopped school, while the younger triplets have yet to start schooling.
Ms Chikwendu, a former beauty queen, has been locked in a child-custody battle with Mr Fani-Kayode following their break-up in August 2020.
The plaintiff, who demands a monthly payment of N3.5 million for the upkeep of their four sons, alleged in her suit before an Abuja High Court that Mr Fani-Kayode, “beat her up on several occasions even while she was pregnant.”
Mr Fani-Kayode had, through his lawyer, Adeola Adedipe, applied to the judge, Sylvanus Oriji, of the High Court of the FCT, Abuja.
He urged the court to either strike out the suit or set aside the earlier purported service of the processes filed by Ms Chikwendu on him.
But the court dismissed Mr Fani-Kayode’s application and assumed jurisdiction to hear the case, a decision the ex-minister appealed at the appellate court.
Mr Oriji also made an order that a fresh hearing notice along with the originating motion be served on Mr Fani-Kayode.
Displeased with the ruling, the ex-minister filed a notice of appeal dated March 25, 2021, alleging that the judge denied him a fair hearing.
Among his prayers, the appellant 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, Ms Chikwendu accused the former minister of maltreating their four sons since she was separated from them.
In an affidavit dated June 28, 2021, Ms Chikwendu attached a slew of photographs purportedly showing Mr Fani-Kayode with his entourage visiting several state governors across Nigeria.
In other photographs, several ladies and the four children, the subject matter of the legal proceedings, could be seen together with Mr Fani-Kayode.
“The appellant (Mr 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 described how Mr Fani-Kayode, allegedly, denied her access to their children since August 2, 2020, using security officials and protocol details attached to him.
‘Children’s education stalled’
Ms Chikwendu added that the former minister, whom she said is always globe-trotting and leaving the children at the mercy of his girlfriends and nannies, is unfit to take care of the four children.
She said as a result of this, the children’s education has been stalled, a development she said is a source of concerns for her.
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“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 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.”
Mr Fani-Kayode has yet to file his response to the allegations.
Until August last year, Mr Fani-Kayode and Ms Chikwendu were living together at his house in Aso Drive in Abuja.
She was said to have been forcibly ejected out of their home as their relationship degenerated.
Born in 1989, Precious, who is fondly referred to as Snow White, is a model, actress, and former beauty queen.
She represented Nigeria at the Miss United Nations World Beauty pageant in 2014.
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