…Court Says Ex-Minister Was Not Properly Served
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Apo, Abuja has set aside the service of court documents on a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode in relation to a child custody suit filed by his estranged wife, Precious Chikwendu.
Justice Sylvanus Oriji, in ruling on Friday, held 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.
Justice Oriji agreed with Fani-Kayode’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe that, from the evidence before the court, it was impossible to conclude that Fani-Kayode was served in person with the originating processes in the case.
The judge however, rejected Fani-Kayode’s prayer that the court declines jurisdiction to hear the suit on account of improper service.
He held that improper service cannot render a suit incompetent and deny the court the jurisdiction to hear it, but that the most the plaintiff would be required to do is to serve afresh.
Upon an application for withdrawal by plaintiff’s lawyer, Mrs. E. D. Moi-Wuyep, Justice Orij struck out plaintiff’s motion for interlocutory injunction and adjourned till April 21 this year for the hearing of the substantive suit.
He ordered the service of hearing notice and the originating processes on the respondent.
Fani-Kayode’s estranged wife is, by the suit, marked: CV/372/2021 seeking among others, the custody of the four children produced by the marriage, “but with reasonable right of access granted to the respondent (Fani-Kayode).”
The woman, who wants Fani-Kayode and his agents restrained “from forcibly abducting” the children from her custody, urged the court to 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 stated that the children, who are all bellow six years, have been emotionally traumatised since they were separated from her since August 2, 2020. She added that she has not seen any of them for over seven months now.
In an affidavit supporting the suit, Precious said she met Fani-Kayode sometimes in 2014 when she was 24 years, following which she moved into his house at No. 5, Zuma Close, Off Udi Hills Street, Aso Drive, Abuja.
She gave details of how Fani-Kayode allegedly subjected her to both verbal and physical abuses during their six-year relationship.
“My relationship with the respondent had been a turbulent and unhappy one. The respondent was in the habit of beating me up during every quarrel.
“My relationship with the respondent witnessed fear, harassment, and series of assault both perpetrated by the respondent himself or with the use of the Nigerian Police force, his security details and, or his personal bodyguards.
“From the early days of our relationship, the respondent has always maintained a lifestyle of utter disregard to my feelings,” she said.
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