Popular artiste, David Adeleke, aka Davido, and his lover, Sophia Momodu, are at daggers drawn over the custody of their seven-month-old daughter, Imade. Sophia, whose lawyer had filed a petition against the Adeleke family for alleged abduction of the child, said the 23-year-old planned to travel to the United States with Imade without her consent.
Imade would have been taken abroad on Tuesday, but for the insistence of workers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on getting the approval of her mother. It was learnt that the airport staff had been hinted on the plan to travel with the child and served the petition.
The petition, which was addressed to th2e Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Offences by Gbolaga Ajayi of S. O. AJAYI & CO., said the baby was taken away from the mother in July, 2015.
Sophia claimed that she was tricked into the Adeleke’s family house on the Lagos Island where her baby was taken from her. The petition read in part:
“Our client, a 27-year-old, is the biological mother of a baby girl with name, Aurora Imade Adeleke, who was born on the 14th day of May 2015. The baby’s father is Mr. David Adedeji Adeleke (aka Davido). The father and mother are unmarried”.
“On the 11th July, 2015, our client was tricked into visiting the house of Mr. David Adeleke’s half sister – Miss Ashley Coco Adeleke ─ with her baby, Imade Aurora Adeleke. After getting to the house on Baderinwa Alabi Street, Lekki Phase I, Lagos, our client’s baby was forcefully taken from her and she was thrown out of the premises with the threat that she would be decisively dealt with if she ever bothered to return there”.
“There were armed policemen on the premises and our client’s survival instinct made her leave her breast-suckling baby behind, with so much pain in her heart.
“By daybreak on the next day, our client was again at Ashley Adeleke’s house to take her baby, but she was prevented by armed policemen from gaining access into the house. She was again threatened and warned never to return for the child.”
The petition alleged that the Adelekes spread false information to tarnish Sophia’s image and frustrate attempts at getting the baby back. It said on the day the child was to be flown out of the country, a member of the Adeleke family had claimed to be the child’s mother.
“When Mrs. Modupe Mofikoya, the immigration officer who attended to the Adeleke travelling party accosted Ashley Adeleke and asked for the mother of the baby, she claimed that she was the mother. Immediately, the immigration officer on duty collected her Nigerian passport, she quickly absconded from the scene with the baby. Her father, Mr. Deji Adeleke, showed up shortly afterwards to clear his daughter’s mess.
“Our client, with the help of her family members, including Mr. Dele Momodu, determinedly resisted the attempt by Miss Ashley Adeleke and her father from taking away Imade Adeleke from Lagos. Our client believes that the pair are trying to take the child to America and thus put her out of the reach of the biological mother.
“At the moment, Miss Ashley Adeleke and our client’s daughter, Imade, are still in Lagos and their respective passports are in the custody of the airport immigration services. Our client’s fear now, is that Ashley Adeleke may use another passport and Imade’s American passport to travel through other Nigerian or West African airports,” it said.
The lawyer said Davido’s actions contravened the Lagos State Child Rights Law, urging NAPTIP to thoroughly investigate the matter and give the child’s mother justice. In a series of posts on Twitter, Sophia said she regretted having an affair with Davido. She alleged that he abused and threatened her severally over the child.
However, the artiste in a statement obtained by our correspondent, said he acted in the interest of his child. Davido said Sophia exploited his naivety and trapped him in the relationship. He said:
“I met Sophia when I was barely 21 years old. She was many years older than me and was able to manipulate and exploit my youth, naivety and generosity. Sophia is the mother of my daughter, and no more! She never would be my wife as she was never qualified for that status. Her background is very dissimilar from mine, and she has very paltry education and equally diminished physical attributes”.
“Cunningly, she moved into my house because she claimed she had no place to stay in Lagos and that her father was late, while her mother was resident in Abuja.
“I have accepted what providence brought my way, including my own personal indiscretions. But I also have been burdened by the grave lapses in the character of Sophia and have thus suffered for my daughter who I love as much as my late mother, Imade”.
“As for the person of Sophia, I paid a two-year rent for her apartment at Lekki and she receives a monthly allowance of N300,000 naira from me ever since Imade was born. This December, Sophia received N500,000 naira as her allowance and Christmas bonus.”
He said he decided to take away his daughter after she was diagnosed to have been infested with cannabis. David claimed the baby was infested from her mother’s breasts, adding that the problem had done a lot of damage to her system. He said he was taking her for treatments in Dubai when he was challenged by the airport workers.
“Already, Imade has special needs and has been treated at the American Hospital, Dubai, with all medical costs and travel expenses drawn off my personal purse ever since she was born.
“On December 29, Imade was supposed to travel, once more, to Dubai for further medical care. A family vacation was attached to this medical trip. But our family plan was truncated by Sophia, her uncle, Dele Momodu, in company with his wife. All these persons were the significant accessory to the Lagos airport debacle.”
He said he decided not to take Sophia along on the trip since they had separated. The 23-year-old said he regretted dating Sophia whom he claimed never made any contribution to the child. Davido said the airport workers did not have the right to stop him from travelling with his child.
“I am 23 years old now. Sophia appropriated me at 21. I have just unbridled my life from her diabolical and shameless stranglehold. She should find her own life and leave me alone,” he added.
The Zonal Coordinator, NAPTIP, Lagos State, Joseph Famakin, who confirmed the receipt of the petition, said the agency was working on it. He said:
“We have received the petition and we are working on it.”