Sunday, 18 September 2016

Why Do You Want to ban me from my 2 -yr – old daughter?

Image result for Nigerian father and mother dragging their daughter 
An American designer and art collector, based in Nigeria and married to a Nigerian, Caroline Karugari Oyekunle, is angry with the ruling of a Lagos State High Court on the battle for the custody of their two children between her and her estranged husband, Olatunde Oyekunle, describing it as unfortunate. 

Caroline, who is also Project Director of Literacy Integration and Formal Education, LIFE, an N.G.O based in Nigeria, filed a motion ex-parte, before the court, through her lawyers, Elvira Salleras and Associates asking the court to grant her unhindered access to the children, aged two and six. 

She told the court, which was on vacation, in an affidavit, that the directive of Hon. Justice Jumoke Pedro, in the divorce suit, that counsel to the parties, should meet and discuss issues of custody and access to the children, on April 18, 2016, was not met, as she was only allowed access to her children on three occasions, which were on April 30, May 2 and 3, 2016, for four hours daily, after meeting all requirements by her husband and his counsel. 

She explained that, after the three occasions, monitored by two nannies and a security guard she has not been allowed access to her children, stressing that her husband has also taken the children out of the court’s jurisdiction. 

She stated that without a subsisting court order allowing her access to her children and restraining the ex-husband from taking the children outside the court’s jurisdiction without her consent, she may lose complete right over the children. 

In his counter affidavit filed in response to Caroline’s application for custody, Oyekunle, through his counsel, Funke Adekoya, told the court that Caroline was incapable of giving care to the children as she does not stay in the country at all times due to her participation in fashion exhibitions outside Nigeria. 

The husband further argued that Caroline abandoned the children when she left their matrimonial home on July 8, 2016. 

According to him, Caroline had access to the children on several occasions at social gatherings and at their grandmother’s home in Gbagada, Lagos and she was also said to have spent a couple of days with her children in August 2015, before travelling out of the country. 

The vacation judge, Hon. Justice, A.M Lawal, in his ruling, urged both parties to adhere to the directive of Justice Pedro, stressing that rather than meet and report back to the court, the parties had decided to engage in arguments on an issue they ought to sit and discuss with the best interest of their children at heart.

But reacting to the ruling, Caroline said: “I am shocked and stunned at the ruling today which practically allows my children to be taken out of Nigeria without my consent. It’s almost six months that Mr Oyekunle and her family have consistently denied me access to my children notwithstanding my efforts. All I want is to be with my daughters and raise them the best way that I know. This is the wish of every mother; the essence why I am still living. Presently, my daughters are 6 and 2 years old. This is the stage they need me most. However,I have been unreasonably denied access to them for the past three months.”



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