Sikirat Agbaje, 68, is a British citizen of Nigerian heritage who got completely cremed by her husband Olusola, 71, when the barrister filed for divorce against his wife in Nigeria. In the outcome, Olusola received upwards of £600,000 and gave her a paltry £7,000 after 40 years of marriage and five children. Not surprisingly, the Nigerian Courts somehow thought that was equitable for this stand up guy of a husband (and barrister!) to leave his wife destitute and practically penniless after 40 years of marriage and five kids. Big surprise.
Anyway, to make a long story short, Sikirat brought suit in England, I guess to try to set aside the Nigerian judgment and re-open the divorce case so that she could revisit the issue of equitable distribution. It has been a circuitous journey through the London courts for the Nigerian senior citizen to say the least. Says the Times Online:
She was successful in the High Court in London, where she was awarded £275,000, only for her former husband to take the case to the Court of Appeal, which to ruled that the original Nigerian award should stand.
Now, after several court hearings and rulings by six senior judges in London, at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds’ legal aid, the case is going before the Supreme Court.
I find myself with a million questions. For example, I ask myself:
SHOULD SHE BE ALLOWED TO FORUM SHOP and ENGAGE IN THIS DIVORCE TOURISM? But then again, how can it be tourism when she is British?
AS A BRITISH CITIZEN, DOESN’T THE BRITISH COURT HAVE JURISDICTION TO VACATE THE SETTLEMENT FOR LACK OF FAIRNESS? In other words, do the British courts have no “discretion” whatsoever in this matter? Are they bound to give this ridiculous settlement “full faith and credit” with no authority whatsoever to set it aside?
CAN’T SHE BRING A SEPARATE FAMILY COURT ACTION TO GET SUPPORT FOR THE CHILDREN which would pretty much be a round about way of getting her some funds she should have gotten anyway from the Nigerian judgment?
CAN’T SHE MODIFY THE JUDGMENT BASED ON CHANGED CIRCUMSTANCES or newly discovered evidence?
WHAT ABOUT A CONSTRUCTIVE TRUST ARGUMENT? http://www.divorcesaloon.com/is-ruth-madoff-shopping-for-a-divorce-lawyer This case would seem to me to be a ripe one for constructive trust, all other options being off the table. Forget setting aside the judgment, and just bring a separate civil action for constructive trust for one of those properties in England that they owned as husband and wife on the basis that the husband has been “unjustly enriched?” I mean, why can’t her lawyers try that argument? Is there no mechanism for constructive trust in British law? Is that the problem? Or am I missing the forest here?
I think I would just argue constructive trust and the heck with whatever settlement they had, and get one of those properties.
But yea. What a stand up guy that Olusola is, leaving his senior citizen wife destitute like that at 68. What a stand up guy. He deserves a medal for being such a stand up guy. Somebody give this stand up guy a medal! And put him on a throne while you’re giving it to him.
Read more on Times Online here: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article6898716.ece
(Flickr photo for illustrative purposes only)