The Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Apo, Abuja, on Friday ordered that fresh processes should be served on a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, on the suit filed by his ex-wife, Precious Chikwendu.
The processes include hearing notice and originating motion issued by the court.
Chikwendu, a former beauty queen, had in the suit alleged that Fani-Kayode assaulted her on several occasions even during pregnancy.
In an affidavit she deposed to in support of an originating motion brought pursuant to Section 69 of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003, Chikwendu demanded the full custody of their four children.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Friday, Justice S.C. Oriji set aside an earlier service on Fani-Kayode and ordered that fresh processes should be served on the ex-minister.
Fani-Kayode’s counsel, Adeola Adedipe, had said the service was invalid because his client’s signature was forged.
Adedipe urged the court to decline jurisdiction on the matter and strike out the suit or alternatively, set aside the earlier service.
Chikwendu’s counsel, Mrs. Enohor Moi-Wuyep, prayed the court to dismiss Fani-Kayode’s application in its entirety.
She said the ex-minister was duly served with the process, adding that he acknowledged the receipt of the court’s summons with a text message.
In a short ruling, Justice Oriji held that from what the bailiff told the court, service was not effected personally on the respondent.
The judge held that the bailiff should have insisted on serving the respondent personally, saying the fact that the bailiff did not see him personally “raises the question of invalid service.
He said: “The issue is not that he has not received it, but that it was not served on him personally.
“In the light of the doubt on personal service, what is left for the court to do is to set aside the service.
“The purported service of the processes is hereby set aside.”
He, however, refused the prayer to decline jurisdiction on the matter.