Hadiza and Zaaki
Hadiza Zaaki-Azzay, the estranged wife of prominent musician, Fateh Zaaki Azzay, popularly known as Zaaki, has accused her husband of using policemen attached to the Lagos State Police Command to harass, intimidate and threaten her life.
Hadiza, who was married to Zaaki for eight years, had earlier accused her husband of domestic violence, causing her to leave her matrimonial home in April 2012.
Explaining the cause of the present problem, the 29-year-old mother of three said after she had separated from Zaaki, she went to her children’s school and took two of them to live with her.
However, she was unable to take the oldest, who is seven years old.
Hadiza said she later decided to move on and filed for divorce, wanting sole custody of the children.
The case is pending at an Ikeja High Court.
But Hadiza said her husband had, however, decided to use the police to take the two children from her, instead of waiting for court’s decision.
It was learnt that Zaaki reported the matter at the Pedro Police Division, Shomolu, from where the matter was transferred to the Special Investigation Bureau at the state command headquarters.
Hadiza said because of the enormous influence Zaaki wielded, she decided to seek the help of a non-governmental organisation, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, that provided her with a lawyer.
The lawyer, Mr. Benjamin Odeh, said he went along with Hadiza to the SIB but was disappointed with the manner in which the officer in charge, Mr. Usman Ayuba, handled the situation.
Odeh said the police accused her of abducting her own children. He said the police also detained her and threatened not to release her until she surrendered the children.
Odeh said it took a lot of convincing and persuasion before they released Hadiza.
In a petition addressed to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2, Lagos, Odeh urged the police boss to look into the matter and make sure that the police did their job without prejudice.
It reads, “We filed a petition for the dissolution of the marriage on grounds of cruelty and intolerable behaviour seeking an order of the honourable court for custody of the children among other prayers and Zaaki was also served. Surprisingly, Zaaki has resorted to the use of officers and men of the Nigeria Police at Pedro Station to harass and intimidate our client by meddling in a matter that is purely civil.
“Zaki petitioned the state command headquarters, Ikeja, against our client on the abduction of her own biological children. When Hadiza presented herself for questioning at the command, she was subjected to humiliation and eventually detained and it took the intervention of her lawyer to effect her release with stern warnings to make herself and the children available unfailingly at the command on August 15 for discussion.
“Our client maintained that she was being threatened with the use of force if she failed to report at the state command and she is afraid she will not receive a fair and just investigation by the officers. We make bold to say that the police ought to protect our client as well as the children until the determination of the case in court.”
When contacted, Zaaki said the case was in court.
He however denied using policemen to harass his wife.
He said he involved the police because of the manner in which Hadiza took the children.
He said, “Two months after she had left my house on her own, she went to the children’s school in an unregistered vehicle with thugs and abducted them while they were on their way home. The thugs also beat up my cousin who had gone to pick the children up.
“All attempts to reach her on phone proved abortive. She did not even reply text messages sent to her phone; that was why I involved the police.
“There are many things that I cannot disclose because the matter is in court but in time the whole truth will be revealed.”
He, however, denied ever abusing his wife.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, said the report she got from the OC SIB was that Zaaki reported that his wife took the children.
“Zaaki reported that the wife did not allow the children to go to school. The OC attempted to broker peace between the husband and wife. The OC said he did not take sides in the matter. The OC said he was not aware the matter was already in court,” she said.
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