An Igbosere High Court in Lagos on Wednesday fixed May 24 to rule on an application by Aminu Atiku, son of former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku, seeking to suspend his children’s N250,000 monthly maintenance fee.
Justice Kazeem Alogba fixed the date after listening to arguments from Oyinkan Badejo, Atiku’s counsel and Ethel Okoh, counsel for his ex-wife, Ummi Fatima Bolori.
Neither Atiku nor Bolori were present in court.
In the suit, Atiku is seeking to upturn a magistrates’ court’s decision awarding custody of the ex-couple’s daughter, Ameera, 11, and son, Aamir, 7, to Bolori.
Atiku is also seeking a stay of execution on the N250,000 monthly maintenance fee, on the ground that it is “onerous”.
At the commencement of proceedings on Wednesday, Badejo contended that the N250,000 was unnecessary because Atiku was satisfying all the needs of his children.
According to her, the applicant (Atiku) is footing the children’s education and medical bills, among others.
She said: “Aminu Atiku had been paying for his children’s schooling and all incidental charges, including school bus and feeding. Their medical cover is comprehensive.”
The lawyer told the court that the lower court did not consider Atiku’s ability to pay the N250,000, noting that the financial capacity of Atiku’s parents was irrelevant.
She asked: “The man is spending from his own pocket. How many 40-year-olds are receiving allowances from their parents?”
But Okoh challenged the argument.
She said contrary to the magistrates’ court order, Atiku had not paid the N250,000 since March, adding that Section 62(5) of the Lagos State Child’s Rights Law required him to pay maintenance for his kids’ upkeep.
Okoh explained that the N250,000 monthly maintenance included payment for feeding and wardrobe allowance, among others, in accordance with the N300,000 earlier child custody agreement reached by their families.
Counsel to the ex-wife further said that on March 8 and March 15, Atiku sent two letters requesting the release of the kids to him for a two-week vacation abroad, adding that the monthly allowance was a far cry from the cost of vacation abroad.
She said Aminu Atiku did not pay his children’s school fees until April 11, a day before his appeal at the High Court.
Okoh said: “From March till date, nothing has been paid for the kids’ allowance. The respondent is also not aware of any arrangement for medical cover for the kids. They are not benefitting from any medical insurance.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that on January 10, Chief Magistrate Kikelomo Ayeye of Tinubu Magistrates’ Court granted Bolori full custody of both children.
The court held that Aminu Atiku failed to file a response to Bolori’s application for child custody.
Ayeye held: “In view of the deliberate absence of the respondent and his legal team, I am constrained to make the following orders in default of respondent’s presence and in the best interest of the children.
“That Ummi Fatima Bolori is hereby granted full custody of Aamir Abubakar Sadiq Aminu Atiku, seven years; and Ameera Amina Atiku, nine years.
“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 of N250,000 monthly, beginning January 2018.”