A non-governmental organisation, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, has accused Justice Oyekan Abdullahi of the Lagos State High Court of bias in a case between Eniola, the son of the founder of Globacom Nigeria Limited, Mike Adenuga, and his ex-lover, Damilola Ogun.
The group, made up of lawyers, in a petition to the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke, alleged that on August 6, 2018, a magistrate, T.A. Elias, of the Magistrate’s Court of Lagos State, delivered a judgement giving custody of Athena, the daughter of the two estranged lovers, to Damilola.
The petition, dated April 26, 2019, claimed that no appeal was filed by the applicant challenging the judgement of the magistrate’s court.
The legal officer of LEDAP, Adaeze Nkonkelonye, in the petition said despite the existing judgement, Abdullahi granted an order in which she relied on a “fraudulent agreement” signed and presented by only the applicant’s counsel which gave custody to the applicant (Eniola).
According to Nkonkelonye, Damilola’s former counsel – Falana & Falana’s Chambers – denied being party to the agreement.
She claimed that it was discovered that there was no court proceeding on the date, alleging that the court order was made in the absence of both counsel and parties during a court vacation.
The petition read in part, “We humbly request that this matter be transferred from Justice Oyekan Abdullahi due to a clear display of bias which has amounted to a meltdown of injustice.
“On August 6, 2018, His Honour, T.A. Elias of the Magistrate’s Court of Lagos State, who is also the first respondent in the suit, delivered a judgement giving custody of Athena Adenuga to the second respondent, Miss Damilola Ogun.
“In view of the said order, we filed an appeal which has been filed and subsequently filed a stay of execution and stay of proceedings at both the lower court and the Court of Appeal.
“Despite the pending applications, Justice Oyekan Abdullahi made an order on April 3, 2019, for the search and rescue of Miss Athena Adenuga, depriving our client the benefit of the pending judgement of the magistrate’s court. We further filed an appeal against the said order.
“However, the court has ignored the said appeal and pending applications and further ordered the illegal arrest and detention of our client,” the petition added.
Nkonkelonye urged the Chief Judge to intervene in the matter by “immediately transferring the matter from the judge to avoid continuous harassment, intimidation and abuse” of Damilola.
Disagreement broke out between the duo and their families, resulting in a series of legal battles for the custody of the child.
The Information Officer of the Chief Judge, who identified herself only as Mrs Ige, said the Chief Judge was not in the country.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said the case was being handled by the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department. He confirmed Damilola’s arrest.
“I am aware that there was a court order to arrest the person (Damilola). When a court asks that a person be arrested and the police carry out the order, it is no longer a police matter. It is the court that keeps the person until the matter is determined,” he said.