The Upper Area Court, Kubwa, Abuja, on Thursday, ordered the immediate arrest of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, son of Nigeria’s former Vice-President, for disobeying an October 27, 2020 judgment directing him to hand his three sons to their mother, Maryam Sherif, for custody. Sherif had commenced the children-custody suit after the divorce between her and her former husband, Abubakar, who bears the same first name and surname with his father, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
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The judge, Bashir Danmaisule, delivered judgment in favour of Sherif on October 27, 2020. But her lawyer, Nasir Saidu, returned the court complaining that Abubakar had failed to comply with the judgment. Saidu had urged the court to issue a judgment-debtor summons for the defendant to appear in court to explain why he did not obey the court’s order and why he should not be jailed for disobeying the court judgment.
Both Abubakar and his lawyer, Abdullahi Hassan, were absent in court on Thursday, although the court bailiff said the defendant was served with the summons through the Nigeria Customs Service, where he works, on November 3, 2020. Relying on the claim of the bailiff, Saidu urged the court to issue an arrest warrant against the defendant. He urged the court to order that Abubakar be arrested and kept in jail pending when he obeys the court judgment. He recalled that the defendant had consistently and flagrantly disobeyed the order of the court to bring the children at every court sitting in the course of the hearing of the case. The judge, Danmaisule, in acceding to the judgment-creditor’s lawyer, noted that the judgment-debtor (Abubakar) appeared to have refused to appear in the court despite being served with the hearing notice. Citing Section 26 of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Area Courts (Repeal and Enactment) Act 2010, issued an order “for the immediate arrest of the judgment-debtor”.