A Magistrate’s Court in Karu, Abuja, has summoned Precious Chikwendu, an estranged wife of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, to answer to charges of forging court documents and deposing to false claims against her ex-husband in series of court affidavits.
Ms Chikwendu is charged alongside one of Mr Fani-Kayode’s domestic workers, Emmanuel Anakan, and five others, in the First Information Report (FIR) filed by the police.
Contacted by PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday, Ms Chiwendu denied the allegation levelled by the police that she was evading service of court summons.
“This is a smear campaign by Mr Fani-Kayode to save his bruised ego,” Ms Chikwendu told our reporter in a telephone interview.
Mr Anakan was the only one present in court on Wednesday among the seven defendants.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following his arraignment, the police prosecuting lawyer, John Ijagbemi, told the magistrate that the rest of the defendants had been “evading arrest.”
The prosecutor then applied for an order summoning the rest of the six other absentee defendants, a request the magistrate promptly granted.
Aside from Ms Chikwendu, the other defendants summoned by the magistrate are Prisca Chikwendu, Anthonia Uchenna, Oko Emmanuel, Daniel Gona and Agbolo Kosi Edah, all of whom the police said were at large.
The charges against them were filed by the police at the instance of Mr Fani-Kayode, who recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
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The police alleged in the FIR filed at the magistrate’s court that the defendants “forged some court processes, using them as genuine and deposed to series of affidavit of false allegations against him to have physically assaulted, sexually harassed of domestic staff, inhumane conduct and domestic violence, which has directly affected his reputation.”
They stated that the alleged “criminal conspiracy forgery and defamation of character,” violated sections 79, 364, 366, 158 and 392 of the penal code law.
The documents which form the basis of the FIR filed by the police appear to be subject of ongoing litigation on the child custody battle between Ms Chikwendu and Mr Fani-Kayode.
Co-defendant granted bail, trial adjourned
Mr Anakan, who was arraigned on Wednesday, was granted bail by the magistrate during Wednesday’s proceedings.
This followed an oral application by his lawyer, Emmanuel Okewu.
The prosecuting counsel had objected to the bail application, expressing fears that the defendant might jump bail.
In a short ruling, the trial magistrate, Ms Woni, overruled the objection and granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N1.5 million with two sureties in like sum.
The court held that the sureties must be residents in the FCT and shall be reasonable persons.
“They must bring proof of payment of utility bills or bring proof of rent payment,” Ms Woni said, adding that the sureties must bring proof of gainful employment.
The case was adjourned till 2 November.
I’m not evading service – Ms Chikwendu
Ms Chikwendu has denied evading the service of court processes on her, adding that the allegation was a smear campaign against her by Mr Fani-Kayode.
She said in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Thursday that she had been honouring the police invitations since last March.
“Nobody has served me any court process. I have been honouring every police invitation. Two weeks ago, I was at the FCT police command upon the invitation by James Idachaba, Head, Legal Unit.
“The police know my house. This is a smear campaign by Mr Fani-Kayode to save his bruised ego. I was not informed of yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) court sitting,” Ms Chikwendu said.
Legal battle between Fani-Kayode, ex-wife
Ms Chikwendu and Mr Fani-Kayode have been locked in a legal battle over the custody of their four sons since they split last year.
She has levelled series of allegations against Mr Fani-Kayode in series of filings in the suit which she had instituted to obtain an order to compel her ex-husband to yield custody of their children to her.
Her lawyers alleged in one of her filings in her suit pending before the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, that Mr Fani-Kayode “beat her up on several occasions even while she was pregnant.”
In an aspect of the case pending at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, she accused Mr Fani-Kayode of lacking the capacity to look after the children, and expressed worries that the former minister was entrusting the boys in the care of nannies and his girlfriends.
She is demanding from Mr Fani-Kayode a monthly payment of N3.5 million for the upkeep of their four sons.
Mr Fani-Kayode has denied his ex-wife’s allegations.