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Ex-Hubby Loses Joint Property Ownership Battle to Nigeria’s Former Ambassador

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, has dismissed an appeal brought before it by Jude Chidiebere, the former husband of Nigeria’s envoy to Argentina, Chikerenwa Cordelia Anyatonwu, over joint ownership of property in Abuja.

Justice Okon Abang in a judgement delivered on Monday, dismissed the appeal for want of merit.

Chidiebere had sued his former wife, Chikerenwa Cordelia Anyatonwu, Nigeria’s former envoy to Argentina, claiming that a property at Kubwa, Abuja, jointly belonged to their matrimonial family.

Among others, he had prayed the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to issue an order compelling his former wife to compute the amount generated as rent from the house since 2013 and share the same with him.

However, the High Court judge, Justice Abubakar Idris Kutigi dismissed the joint ownership claims of the property by the plaintiff.

The judge held that the former husband to the ex-envoy did not have any credible evidence to establish his assertion that the property jointly belonged to him and his former wife.

Not satisfied with the decision of the High Court, Chidiebere approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja, praying that the judgement of the High Court be voided and set aside on grounds of miscarriage of justice.

However, in the Court of Appeal judgement, Justice Okon Abang held that the appellant failed to convince the appellate court that there was injustice in the judgement of the lower court.

Among others, Justice Abang said that the allocation paper and the Certificate of Occupancy issued by the Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, bear only the name of Chikerenwa Cordelia Anyatonwu.

Justice Abang also held that all receipts for payments of the property to the FCDA were issued in the name of the former envoy.

The appellate court held that the appellant did not establish any source of income to be able to buy a property other than being a driver, driving the former envoy around in Argentina and that the court cannot speculate for him.

Justice Abang upheld the claim of the former envoy that she divorced her former husband due to irreconcilable differences occasioned by assault while they were together.

The Court of Appeal disagreed with the claim of the appellant that he was responsible for letting out the property to a tenant adding that, mere letting out of the property and signing a tenancy agreement with a tenant was not sufficient to confer joint ownership on the appellant.

“In my opinion, the first respondent in this matter, Chikerenwa Cordelia Anyatonwu made a better case for her sole ownership of the property, Block 145, Flat 1, in Kubwa, Abuja.

“There is nowhere the appellant made a better case for joint ownership as he claims in this matter.

“In all, this appeal lacks merit and is hereby accordingly dismissed. The judgement of the FCT High Court delivered on December 11, 2019, in favour of the first respondent’s sole ownership of the property is hereby affirmed,” Justice Abang held.

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