Court Orders Navy To Pay Ndubuisi Kanu’s Entitlements To Dedicated Account
In order to streamline the major issues, a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on Monday directed the Nigerian Navy to pay the entitlement and benefit of a former Military Administrator of Lagos, late Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, to an interest-yielding dedicated account.
The move is aimed at discharging the Nigerian Navy from the proceedings.
Justice Christopher Balogun made the order in a suit filed by Mrs Gladys Ndubuisi Kanu who was seeking that the Nigerian Navy should calculate the benefits and entitlement of the late Ndubuisi Kanu and pay them.
Mrs Gladys Kanu is also seeking to be declared as the only legal wife of the late Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu.
She also sought an order of the court to declare that she is the only widow of the late Ndubuisi Kanu.
Mrs Gladys Kanu said that she and the deceased were co-habiting until his death. She noted that though she was married to him for 27 years, she was in a relationship with him for 31 years.
The respondents in the suit are Nigerian Navy and children of the deceased.
The children are – Kelly Kanu, Simone Abiona (nee Kanu), and Andrey Joe-Ezigbo (nee Kanu).
The others are Paula Ndidiamaka Kanu, Karen Johnson (nee Kanu), Jeffery Kanu, Laura Kanu and Stephen Kanu.
Two other wives of the late naval chief, Josephine Ndubuisi-Kanu and Christine Kanu, are also respondents in the suit.
In opposition to Mrs Gladys Kanu’s submissions, the 1st, 3rd -9th Defendant say that she is not a wife of the deceased as she has placed no evidence in support of her marriage and unbroken cohabitation. In fact, the 10th Defendant’s case is that she is also a wife of the deceased.
At the resumed hearing of the suit, Justice Balogun held that the case and reliefs were to be streamlined to the real issues excluding the burial.
Counsel to the 1st,3rd-9th defendants, Mr. Tomilade Shodimu, submitted that the court had directed that some nine pending applications should be subsumed into the main case.
He also noted that he had received again an application for the claimant change of counsel making it the 7th time she had changed counsel since the commencement of the proceedings.
The Nigerian Navy on its part said it had filed an application before the court to remove the service from the list of respondents since the burial of late Ndubuisi had been conducted.
The counsel to the Navy also said that in its effort at withdrawing from the proceedings, clarifications had been sought on how the Nigerian Navy as an institution handles entitlements. It was advised that the listed next of kin on record of the Nigerian Navy is Kelly Kanu, the 1st respondent.
The claimant, however, opposed this submission. It also contended that the Nigerian Navy cannot be struck off the list of defendants for now, as it is still holding the entitlement of the deceased.
Justice Balogun granted an accelerated hearing of the suit. He noted that the deceased has three wives and all the wives have children for him. The judge said he is guided by the law and statute which provides that all the children are entitled to benefit from their late father’s estate.
Justice Balogun further stated that there is nothing in doubt as regards the status of the children as according to the Administration of Estates Law of Lagos State, all the 10 children were legitimate children of the deceased.
With regards to the several press releases in the newspaper concerning who is the wife of the deceased, the court noted that it will not be swayed by any media statements or claims in the media by any of the parties, as the matter will be decided solely on the position of the law.
The court subsequently advised parties to ensure all court processes and papers are duly regularised as the proceedings will be set for trial.
He adjourned to February 7, 2022.
The late Nduibuisi Kanu, aged 77 died in Lagos on January 13, 2021 as a result of complications arising from COVID-19.
After his death, there was a family dispute about how the funeral should be conducted.
Justice Balogun resolved the dispute on October 11, 2021 and he was subsequently buried on Oct 15, 2021.
There is an ongoing dispute in his family regarding the administration of his estate.