Former chairman of the Oyo State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Ambassador Wale Ojo-Lanre, has dragged the Labour Party, LP, its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, the Federal Government, the Attorney-General of the federation, AGF, and the mother of Chioma Success, Ms Queen, before a Lagos High Court, sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, for the enforcement of the child rights of Chioma Success and her protection from abuse, exploitation and necessary safety guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution, as amended, Child Rights Act, UNCRC (1989), ACRWC (1990) and the Child Rights Law of Lagos State.
In a suit filed on his behalf, as a concerned Nigerian and friend if litigation, by his counsel, Richmond O Natha-Alade, of the Sun-Natha Alade and Partners, Ojo-Lanre accused the first, second and third respondents of violating the rights of Chioma, by allowing her participation in a political rally, and using her picture on the social media.
The plaintiff’s counsel, Natha-Alade, on behalf of his client, sought an order of the court declaring that the action of the first, second and third respondents, Obi, LP and Ms Queen respectively, in inclusion and allowing Chioma’s participation in “an adult political rally, which took place in Lagos on October 1, 2022” as an infringement in the rights of the toddler, and “is illegal, unlawful, risky, exploitative and a violation of the rights of a child.”
The plaintiff, who is a tourism buff and former Senior Special Assistant on Tourism Development to the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, further water the court to declare that the act amounted to “child abuse and a contravention of the Child Rights Act, Child Rights Law of Lagos State and the United Nations’ Convention on Rights of a Child.”
Ojo-Lanre,a journalist-turned legal practitioner, is therefore seeking among other reliefs: a declaration that the conduct, utterance, acceptance, non-condemnation and tweet of the first respondent via his official Twitter handle, @peterobi, on October 2, 2022, posting the picture bad video of Chioma Success to his over 2.2 million followers, “praising and addressing Chioma Success as a ‘poster child’ is misleading, unlawful, illegal, exploitative, and an abuse, contrary to section 33 of the Child Rights Act, Section 29 of the Child Rights Law of Lagos State, and Article 36 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, 1981.”
Other reliefs are: an order of the court directing the first and second respondents to delete forthwith their respective tweets and other posts on their social media accounts, made on October 2, and or thereafter relating to Chioma Success’ rally with the first, second and third respondents; and order mandating the fourth and fifth respondent to withdraw Chioma Success, an abused toddler, from the care and custody of the third respondent and fostering same to any reliable welfare homes under the accreditation and supervision of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs or other appropriate authorities fro proper care, education, protection and upbringing until she clocks 18 years of age; an order awarding the damages of ₦50 million jointly and severally against the first, second and third respondents for the violation of the child Rights of Chioma Success; an order directing that the damages sum be held in trust for Chioma Success by the fourth respondent, who shall delegate the Ministry of Women Affairs and/or relevant authority to enforce/receive payment mad open an interest yielding account on behalf of Chioma Success, of which Chioma Success shall have access to the fund therein when she attains the age of 18 years.
Natha-Alade, The plaintiff’s counsel, also sought other reliefs from the court, including: an order retraining and/or prohibiting the first, second and third respondents, their allies, friends and members of their political party, aides, agents, privies, associates or any person of same political interest with them from posting, circulating, printing the picture of a Chioma Success and/or further violating her rights or the rights of nay child; an order disqualifying the second respondent from participating in the 2023 presidential election for condoning, adopting, encouraging and allowing the usage of a toddler (Chioma Success) in it’s rally of October 1, 2022, hence violating her rights as a child; an order mandating the fourth and fifth respondents to initiate criminal complaints against the first, second and third respondents for exploitation and flagrant violation of the right of Chioma Success in line with the necessary provisions of the Child Rights Act; and for such order or further orders that the honourable court may deem fit to make in the circumstance of the case.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.