An Ikeja High Court on Monday ordered Gladys Kanu, one of the widows of retired Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, to pay a total cost of N120,000 for delaying proceedings in a suit she filed over her late husband’s estate.
Kanu was a Military Administrator of Imo and Lagos States and died in 2021, with the family fighting over his property.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Justice Christopher Balogun ordered Gladys to pay N40,000 to each of the three lawyers representing her stepchildren, co-wives and the Nigerian Navy for delaying proceedings because of her frequent change of lawyers.
Since the commencement of the suit after her husband’s death in 2021, Gladys has changed legal representation eight times.
During proceedings on January 31, 2022, her seventh counsel, O.J. Owoh, told the court that because he was new to the case, he needed time to study the case file and some documents.
Proceedings were adjourned for that reason.
However, during Monday’s proceedings, it was brought to the attention of the court that Gladys has again hired a new counsel.
Reacting, Balogunm in a short ruling, said: “This court cannot proceed with anything just like last week as the claimant (Gladys) has changed counsel to another law firm.
“All counsel in court today are ready to go on with the matter.
“All defendants represented are hereby granted N40,000 each.”
The court also ordered the Nigerian Navy to calculate the entitlements of the deceased and send it to its counsel, C.G. Cirbam, who is to file it by way of affidavit evidence before the court before the next proceeding.
Earlier, the new counsel to the claimant, Udenna Chukwulobe, from the law firm of Olisa Agbakogba (SAN), informed the court that the law firm was new to the case and had just been briefed by Gladys.
Chukwulobe requested for an adjournment to enable adequate preparation for the case.
Since commencement of the suit, the claimant has engaged eight different lawyers, including Emeka Etiaba (SAN), Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) and Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN).
Other counsel are C.J Jiapkona, Onyebuchi Ede, John Duru, O.J. Owoh.
Counsel to all respondents to the suit have, however, remained the same.
All counsel to the respondents did not oppose Gladys’s change of counsel as it is her constitutional right.
Tomilade Shodimu, counsel representing children of the deceased, had requested that cost should be awarded against Gladys for stalling the business of the day.
Agreeing with Sodimu, Benjamin Ijewereh, counsel to Josephine Kanu, one of the widows of the deceased, also asked that Gladys should be made to pay costs for wasting judicial time.
NAN reports that in the suit marked LD/3685FPM/2021, Gladys is seeking that the Nigerian Navy should calculate the entitlements of the deceased into an account.
She is seeking to be declared the only legal wife and sole widow of the late former military administrator.
According to her, she and the deceased were cohabiting until his death.
She said that she was married to him for 27 years but was in a relationship with him for 31 years.
Respondents in the suit are the Nigerian Navy, children and other wives of the deceased, who are Kelly Kanu, Simone Abiona (Nee Kanu) and Andrey Joe-Ezigbo (nee Kanu).
The others are Paula Ndidiamaka Kanu and Karen Johnson (Nee Kanu), Jeffery Kanu, Laura Kanu, Stephen Kanu, Josephine Ndubuisi-Kanu (wife) and Christine Kanu (wife).
The case was adjourned until March 8 for further hearing.