Lagos—Aminu Atiku, the son of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, ran away with his seven-year-old son shortly after a Tinubu Magistrate’s Court granted his estranged wife, Unmi Fatima Bolori, custody of the children.
Bolori’s counsel, Nwabuzor-Ethel Okoh, said: “The boy is not with us. He snatched the boy from the mother and spirited him away today (yesterday), even after the final ruling on custody earlier made by the court. We are now trying to get across to him and the boy.
“He snatched the boy from his mother and drove off. We never suspected anything like this was going to happen, otherwise I would have told the boy’s mom to drive away with her kids.”
Chief Magistrate Kikelomo Ayeye had earlier, yesterday, granted the custody of the two children to their mother, Bolori, after Aminu failed to file a response to her application for child custody.
Ayeye made the order following the absence of Aminu and his legal team.
Bolori, in her application for child custody, had proposed an arrangement for the welfare of the children, which was argued by her counsel, Nwabuzor-Ethel Okoh and Gloria Albert-Ekpe from Festus Keyamo Chambers.
She asked the court to order Aminu to pay her N300,000 monthly as feeding and maintenance allowance for the kids’ upkeep and N1 million yearly as their clothing allowance.
Bolori also sought an order restraining Aminu from taking the kids “outside the shores of Nigeria for any purpose whatsoever” without her consent.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, neither Aminu nor his counsel was present.
Magistrate Ayeye said: “The respondent failed to file a response. In view of the deliberate absence of the respondent and his legal team, I am constrained to make these following orders in default of respondent’s presence and in the best interest of the children to wit:
“Unmi Fatima Bolori is hereby granted full custody of the children aged seven and nine. The applicant is allowed to reside with the children at her residence at Katampe Extension, Abuja.
“The applicant is ordered to put the children in schools suited for their educational needs in Abuja. Access is granted to the respondent to visit his children in Abuja and request for the children to spend holidays with him.
“The respondent is ordered to pay monthly upkeep for the children in the amount ofN250,000 monthly, beginning from January 2018. The respondent is ordered to effect medical insurance on each of the children.”
On October 18, 2017, the court had remanded the respondent in transit cell for disobeying a court order to produce his son in court.
Aminu was alleged to have disobeyed an order made by Ayeye on October 11, 2017 over the custody of the boy, who he was alleged to have taken away from the custody of his ex-wife, Bolori.
Magistrate Ayeye had also ordered the respondent in the suit—U. F. Bolori vs. M. A. Abubakar— to produce the boy at the first hearing of the case.
When the case came up for the discharge of “Emergency, Evacuation/Protection Order” made by the court, the court was informed that the parties were planning to settle out of court.
In response, Bolori’s lawyer, Mr. Nwabuzor Okoh, denied receiving any notification from the respondent to settle out of court.
Following the development, Chief Magistrate Ayeye cited Atiku for contempt for disobeying court order issued on October 11, 2017, and ordered that the respondent be remanded in transit cell and the case stood down, pending when he would produce the boy.
However, Atiku was later released after he produced the boy, consequently Magistrate Ayeye granted the custody of the children to Bolori.
She also ordered that the children, then aged eight and six, be in their mother’s custody for 10 days, pending when permanent living and visiting arrangement will be made, and adjourned the case till November 1, 2017 for further hearing on the matter.
On the said date, Magistrate Ayeye granted the respondent interim custody of the two children, to allow them complete the third term in their present school in Lagos.
Ayeye, in her ruling, had held that the children should be in their father’s custody from November 1, 2017, till January 10 (yesterday).
Bolori and Aminu were divorced in 2011, and the children were initially with their mother, with an arrangement that the children would be spending vacation with their father.
However, during one of the school holidays in 2013, Aminu requested that they be released to him for a vacation abroad, after which he refused to let the kids return to their mother.