Canadian court faults claim by Lagos judge’s daughter on domestic violence

Following the allegations of domestic violence and threat to her life, the Canadian Court of Justice has faulted claims by Ms. Olubukola Ajayi, ordering her to return three children in her custody to their father in Nigeria and consequently dismissed her case.

Bukola, born to Mr. Tunde Ipaye and a senior Lagos State judge, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Ipaye, who in November last year absconded from the country with the three children, had sought the court’s intervention in a case of illegally withdrawing the children from their habitual resident.
But the court could not find merits in her case. Hence, the matter was dismissed.

Olubukola, the applicant, had married Eyitope Ajayi, the respondent, in Nigeria in 2006 and the union produced three children. The relationship had gone on well until 2021, when the wife told her husband about her new identity of belonging to a society of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQA+).

This was few days after her return from Canada where she had gone to give birth to their third baby. She also told her hubby of her intention to separate from him.

Unknown to her husband, she had perfected plans to relocate with the children to Canada. Few days after, she absconded with the children and the search for her began. It was first a case of missing persons, which was registered at least at three police stations in Nigeria.

Her parents were also contacted but they denied knowledge of her whereabouts, though it was reported by one of the domestic staffs at the police stations that her mother’s driver, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, had brought documents in an envelope prior to her abscondment.

Mr. Ajayi made frantic efforts to locate her to no avail. He later received a terse mail from his estranged wife to the effect that she’s done with the marriage. At this point, the husband realized that she had absconded to Canada. Consequently, Mr. Ajayi had no option than to institute a divorce proceeding in Nigeria.

Upon Ms. Ajayi arrival in Canada, she instituted a court case seeking custody of the three children, alleging deliberate denial of access to them, threat to her life and that of the children if the court ordered their return to Nigeria. Ms. Ajayi also alleged domestic violence against her husband.

But while the case lasted, it was discovered that she had long ago registered the three children as fatherless at different times of their births. This came to the fore following the sighting of their birth certificates in Canadian court.

On the allegation of denying her access to the children, the court noted multiple unanswered emails from Mr. Ajayi to Mrs. Ajayi even after the disappearance of the children and said those emails confirmed that Mr. Ajayi expressed his intention to dissolve their marriage while he and his estranged wife remain involved in the lives of the children.

According to the court, Mr. Ajayi wants his estranged wife to have as much parenting time with the children as their best interest warrants

The court also discountenanced Ms. Ajayi’s claim of threat by the paternal grandfather, whom she accused threatened her at a meeting on November 18, 2021, adding that made her to abscond with the children.

The court said: “Ms. Ajayi bought tickets to Canada for her and the three children on November 17, 2021. Indeed, she had already deposited luggage with her friend, Ms. Nengi Adoki, prior to November 18, 2021. She knew she was going to leave Nigeria with the children prior to her discussion with Mr. Ajayi’s parents; she just didn’t know exactly what day.”

On allegation of threat to her if she returns to Nigeria, the court said: “Ms. Ajayi was born in Nigeria, has dual Canadian and Nigerian citizenship and there is no legal impediment to her returning to and staying in Nigeria with the children.

“Indeed, Ms. Ajayi is a privileged member of Nigerian society; she is well educated, has substantial means, and an influential family. Not only is there no legal impediment to returning, but she is also well situated to do so. “

The Judge also said allegation of financial abuse against Mr. Ajayi could not be established. “It was hard to ascertain in what manner Ms. Ajayi thought she was financially abused. Ms. Ajayi was employed in Nigeria and had access to her own money and had access to Mr. Ajayi’s income when needed. Additionally, the parties had multiple staff to run the house and care for the children,” the court said.

Justice Engelking also ruled that the children were not at risk of harm with their father, noting that Ms. Ajayi had left the two older children in their father’s care for an extended period when she came to Canada to give birth. As for the father’s family’s influence, Justice Engelking pointed out that Ms. Ajayi’s mother is a superior court judge in Nigeria.

Debunking her claim that she was the sole caregiver of the children, the court said: “While I am, in the first place, not convinced that Ms. Ajayi was the children’s sole primary caregiver prior to her departure for Canada in November, the other difficulty with Ms. Ajayi’s argument in this regard is that Mr. Ajayi has not sought to remove her from the lives of the children unlike in other wrongful removal cases. There is no evidence in this case that the children have generally been either exposed to or the subjects of domestic violence.”

On her conclusion, the Judge said: “Based on the evidence before me, I find that there is no risk of physical harm to the children if returned to Nigeria or to the care of Mr. Ajayi.

Contending that she will face negative consequences from being linked to the LBGTQ1LA+, the court said nothing could stop her to return to Nigeria if she so desires.

Days after the judgment, the children have since reunited with their father.

Meanwhile, Ms. Ajayi, who now engages in smear campaign under the guise of abuse, which never existed, is soliciting funds using platforms like GoFundMe.

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