Businessman accuses Police, Lagos ministry of unlawful child custody scheme

Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has adjourned till January 11 for hearing in a motion on notice filed against the Police and the Lagos State Ministry of Youth, Sport and Social Development, over alleged violation of fundamental rights.

A businessman, Solomon Emeka Nwadiogbu, instituted the N1.5bn suit, alleging that the two bodies and seven others were part of a ploy to unlawfully take his two teenage children from him and award custody to his estranged wife, Adamu Cynthia Amos.

He said on several occasions, Policemen and Taskforce officials arrived at his home with buses and Black Maria trucks, with which they planned to take away his children.

The applicant said they claimed to have a court order authorising them to break down his home and take his teenage son. They laid siege to his home and offices, prevented him from working, prevented his children from going to school, from taking exams, attending public functions and that he and his kids lived in fear of forcible and unlawful change of custody.

The applicant made the averments in his motion on notice in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/1090/2020.

The nine respondents are the daughter to former FIFA executive, Amos Adamu; the Inspector-General of Police; Commissioner of Police, Lagos; Assistant Commissioner of Police Gbolahan Mudashiru (Commander Area J, Ajiwe, Lagos); Chief Superintendent of Police Oluwashola Oke (Divisional Police Officer, Ajah Police Station); DPO Ogombo Police Station; Aramide Alaka (Human Rights Section, Ajah Station); Inspector Moses Beleyede; and the ministry as first to ninth respondents in the suit.

Mr. Nwadiogbu alleged that the respondents were causing him mental torture, violated his right to liberty, dignity and freedom of movement and cost him loss of revenue, over the custody of his children.

In his amended affidavit in support of the application, he stated that he married Ms Adamu in 2005; they had a boy and a girl and lived in Victoria Garden City, Lagos till 2013 when the marriage broke down.

For peace to reign, he added that he left his home and moved to a five star hotel located in Central Victoria Island where he spent six years due to threat to his life, leaving behind a business worth over N9.6billion.

He subsequently filed for divorce, which he later withdrew, after meetings with her family.

He claimed that in his absence, his children, despite his wealth and generous payment for their upkeep, were “starved and made to sell, hawk items in the area”.

The applicant subsequently secured custody of his children, and added that following an alleged “bogus” civil complaint by his wife, the second to ninth respondents had been harassing, intimidating and threatening to arrest or detain him, over “a purely family matter”.

Mr. Nwadiogbu alleged that the police were threatening him with arrest and unlawful detention, despite his not having committed “any offence known to law,” adding that ministry officials and Taskforce officials had been blocking the entrance to his property.

He is seeking seven reliefs, including a declaration that there is no legal basis for the continued intimidation and harassment and the “attempt to make him forcefully release his children who are in JSS 2 and SSS3 against the children’s will” to their mother, “without a court or any criminal act by the applicant” violates his fundamental human rights.”

He prayed the court to declare that the police lack jurisdiction over the matter and that their intervention was “unethical, unprofessional and gross abuse of Public Office.”

He further prayed the court to grant an order of “perpetual injunction restraining the police from further harassing him, and an order compelling the 1st and 4th – 8th Respondents “to tender a public apology in one prominent national newspaper for the humiliation, embarrassment and public opprobrium” caused to him.

The defendants are yet to file a defence.

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