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…Runs to advocate, seeking justice, custody of child

Juliana Francis

A distraught father, Mr. Chimaobi has run to the Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN), a non-governmental organisation with head office in Lagos State, Nigeria, asking that instruments of the law, fairness, and justice should be deployed to retrieve his child from his estranged wife.

Chimaobi alleged that his wife had earlier neglected the child and he had to step in to care for the child in between jobs and that suddenly, following his remarrying, his estranged wife appeared, fuming, and demanding that the child be given to her.

To this end, the woman allegedly came with some men to abduct the child. He also claimed that the estranged wife told him that she and the men were acting on the instructions of the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Owutu Police Station in the Ikorodu area of the state.

Chimaobi said that he had no problem with his wife having custody of the child if she would truly care for her, alleging that she used to dump the child with her younger brother, who charges people’s phones for a living. He claimed that his brother-in-law’s shop used to be crawling with young boys, which he felt was not safe for his growing girl-child.

Chimaobi has gone to ACVPN, knowing that over the years the organisation has shown and proven that anyone could be vulnerable, needing intervention and justice, no matter the person’s gender, religion, or ethnicity.

Although Chimaobi knows that according to the Child Rights Law, that a minor is supposed to stay with her mother, but believes that the child would suffer and be neglected if allowed to stay with her mom.

Hear his story.

“My name is Chimaobi, I live in Ikorodu in Lagos. On the 22nd of May 2015, I met a lady by the name Serah in Ibadan, and we started dating. We dated for some months and we decided to get married to each other.

“I put a date for our introduction, few days into it I discovered that she was in a relationship with a man with three wives, I talked to her, and she apologised and promised it will never happen again.

“I took my relatives down for the introduction, we did all that was required of us as wanted by her family, she moved into my house and started living with me, while we were living together she got pregnant for me, then I have started having a problem with my business.

“Then I was dealing on textile fabric in Aleshiloye Market Ibadan, I could not continue with the business because of financial reasons. I moved down to Lagos to look for something else to do while she stayed with her parents.

“I came to Lagos, and I worked with a food vendor, I load goods in the market, I worked with a security company even in my own church redeem church as a security man, while I was doing all these I never abandoned her and our unborn child.

“When it was time to buy baby things I took a loan, when she delivered I paid the hospital bill, even when I am not financially buoyant my daughter was majorly using can milk than breast milk, because that was instructions from her mom, for we not to stress her mom, I did not stop.

“I finished paying the loan and after some months I took another one to rent an apartment here in Lagos where I am currently living. I moved her to Lagos with our daughter, I always come home at weekends because of my work, I was doing three jobs, marketing job during the day, security in the night, and laundryman while I was on duty in the night.

“On the weekend I will go home, I advised her to go for a teaching job she said she doesn’t like teaching although the pay in my area was too poor, I got advice from a female friend that she should try zobo, I told her and she accepted, then I talked to my brother on her behalf to be keeping it in his shop which he accepted.

“After a while, she stopped going there and discovered a new friend, that’s where the problem started.

“I was starved of sex for eight months, and I was denied food for months even when I am still giving money to her, later I discovered she was still seeing the man of 2015, I invited the mother, and she that she will handle the situation.

“After she talked to her, she apologised and her mother left, things now worsen, my life was now under threat, and I was sick she could not give me food. I had an accident and called her she did not pick up, I sent her a text message, but she read my text but didn’t reply, I had to call her family before they now called her, and her response was that I did not ask her what was doing her, later she told me she was going to see her sick father I gave her money for transport and money to give to her parents, not knowing she was not going to come back again.

“She travelled and stopped picking up my calls, she started telling people she was no longer coming back with my child, I took my family to her family’s place she still repeated to me that she was not coming back to Lagos.

“I take up all financial obligations of my daughter while she was with her, clothing, feeding, school fees, school bus, and medical. Each time the school closes for a holiday, I will go to Ibadan and bring my child to Lagos, but each time I bring her she will be crying that she doesn’t want to go back to Ibadan, her mom used to call me that she was crying that she wanted to stay with me.

“Most times she will abandon her with me on the phone, and I will keep talking to her until she calms down, I discovered that when I send money to my ex-wife to use for my child’s purpose, she will not use it for the stuff.

“At my child’s last birthday, her mom started leaving her with her old parents and brother, and her brother is running phone charger and charging phones in front of the house, each time I called to know the whereabouts of my daughter I will be hearing voices of boys, like many boys, meaning boys usually lurk around in his phone charging shop.

“I became afraid and worried when I called her to check up on my daughter, she said she wasn’t around, meaning she left my daughter with his brother and went her way without bothering about our child. She said she did not know when she would be coming back yet, I should be calling her younger brother from then henceforth.

“Because of that act, I decided to stop work and started a personal business to take care of her myself, then I went to Ibadan to pick up my child, we agreed she will be staying with me, but later I got married to a nurse, and my former wife started giving me a problem.

“She reported me to Agidigbo FM Radio human rights in Ibadan where I went to answer them and they said I should keep taking good care of my daughter while we discussed how she will be coming to see her child, I told them she was free to visit at any time, but she should inform me.

“The next thing she did was to call the police for me when she came with the police, I was in the shop, and the next thing the did was to whisk away my daughter without any information, I quickly took a bike, sighting them’ they asked the bike man to keep going, I had to start chasing them, after that we went to the police station and the police asked me some questions and also asked her, they then say I should go with my child, this last one was on Friday.

“I have placed my child in a good school and my wife, a nurse helps in taking good care of her health-wise.

“On 14/07/2023 my ex-wife went to my wife’s shop as she just returned from picking up my daughter from school, she came with three men and a lady and abducted my daughter, when she was asked, she said the Owutu Division DPO gave her some guys and a lady to kidnap my daughter.

“Till now I don’t know where they took my daughter, I called her phone and realised she has blocked my line. I want the good people to help me because I see the DPO of Owutu Police Station using power and compromising on me.”

ACVPN has said it will look into the case bearing in mind that the comfort and welfare of the child were paramount.

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