A longstanding feud between the speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Suraj Adekunbi, and his former mistress, Iyabo Adedotun, over the custody of their 8-year-old child, on Thursday escalated to a public brawl with both sides verbally attacking the other.
The court eventually took away the custody of the child from the weeping mother and handed to Mr. Adekunbi at a stormy session.
The incident occurred at the premises of the Customary Court at Agbeloba area of Abeokuta, Ogun State, where the estranged mistress dragged Mr. Adekunbi to, accusing him of threatening her life.
A staff of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, she told the court that the speaker prevented her from marrying another man, and had failed to meet his responsibilities as the father of their only child, Samiat.
Ms. Adedotun prayed the court to restrain Mr. Adekunbi from further threatening her, in addition to allowing her marry.
The speaker asked the court to grant him custody of their daughter. His prayer was granted unanimously by the three-member court panel.
The court also dissolved their 10-year-old relationship, and ruled that all parties to the case were free to marry any person of their choice.
However, shortly after the judgment, the duo launched tirades at each other as the complainant refused to allow her child to be taken away.
An unidentified colleague of Ms. Adedotun attempted to stop court officials from handing over the child to the speaker.
The situation became riotous as a police guard called for reinforcement and attempted to arrest the civil defense personnel for stopping the execution of a court order.
One of the NSCDC officials in a struggle with armed policemen outside the court premises.
As more police arrived the court, NSCDC officials also reached the court to help their colleagues.
The police officers fired gunshots to scare away the surging crowd and later succeeded in whisking away the NSCDC official.
When contacted, the media aide to the speaker, Waheed Akinola, said the complainant, whom he referred to as the speaker’s “baby mama”, caused the trouble by refusing the hand over the child.
Ms. Adedotun told journalists she was concerned about the safety of her child, saying her father had been nonchalant in the past.
She said became enraged after the speaker mocked and insulted her after the court judgement.
Weeping, Ms. Adedotun questioned the ruling of the court.
“Are they saying I would not see my child again. How would I cope, a child we slept together overnight.”