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Rights Group Demand Split Custody For Children Of Divorced Couple

A coalition of civil society group, Coalition for Women and Children Rights Protection (Coaltion-WCRP) has urged the Ministry of Justice, Office of the First Lady of Nigeria, UNICEF, UN Women, and other Pro-Women and Children Civil Society Organizations to wade into the divorce scandal between one Alhaji Abubakar Adaji Achimugu and his wife, Mrs. Rabi Achimugu

The coalition in a statement are advocating that Alhaji Achimugu gives split custody of the four children, who are still minors, to their biological mother.

The statement was signed by Abiodun Sodiq Babalola, Esq of Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN), Tersagh UNANDE, Esq of Make Nigeria Better Initiative (MNBI), Chief Isaac Ikpa of Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET), Joseph Chinelo NWAEGBU, Esq. of Lawyers United for Peace, Justice and Development, as well as 5 other CSOs

The coalition alleged that Achimugu has taken custody of the four children and denied their mother of the opportunity of seeing them for the past three years.

“By split custody we mean a situation whereby the children reside with their mother while the father takes care of their responsibilities including feeding, education, medical care and so on until they can decide to live with any of their parents after attaining the age of majority, which is constitutionally fixed at 18 years in Nigeria.

“The gap created by Alhaji Achimugu between the four children and their biological mother is a clear breach of Section 14 of the Child Rights Act 2003 as applicable to the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. The Section provides that “Every child has a right to parental care and protection, and accordingly, no child shall be separated from his parents against the wish of the child except – for the purpose of his education and welfare or in the exercise of a judicial determination in accordance with the provisions of this Act, in the best interest of the child”.

“On this legal note, we submit that the separation of Jalila, Zaheera, Zahara and Abubakar Achimugu Jnr. from their mother is illegal, callous and unacceptable.”

The group said teouble between the couple started when on December 2 2016, while Mrs. Achimugu was driving home along Berger Express Way, Abuja Alhaji Achimugu physically attacked her and caused serious damage to her car based upon his ‘suspicion’ that she was engaging in extramarital affairs.

“Mrs. Achimugu promptly reported the incidence to the Police as she feared for her life but on getting to the house that fateful evening, she discovered that Alhaji Achimugu had broken into her room and thrown all her belongings out, saying she must pack and leave the house.

“The husband did not stop there but broke into her wife’s box and took the International Passports of the four children. Alhaji Achimugu also took from her wife’s box land documents they purchased jointly in CBN Quarters, Garki and Jahi areas of Abuja together with her personal belongings like pure gold and diamond jewelries.”

The group reaclled that Mrs. Rabi Achimugu got married to her husband, Alhaji Abubakar Adaji Achimugu, under the Igala native law and custom on 20th September, 2003. Thereafter, the couple solemnized their union under the Marriage Act on 26th September, 2003 at the Federal Marriage Registry, Ikoyi, Lagos before proceeding to perform yet another elaborate Islamic marriage ceremony in Lagos on 4th October, 2003 with reception same date.

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