Legal Drama

Who Really Loves Imade the Most? Davido v. Sophia v. Dele Momodu Alleged Child Abduction Case

Happy New Year AML People. I wish you great tidings and success this 2016.

I was not anticipating a return to this blog now (I work hard and need rest jare) and despite a couple of more posts I will share, I am still officially on vacation from the blog and will remain so, until I am ready to return during the later part of this month. However, there are some stories that won’t go away and of which some of you have pushed for my views. Let’s start with Davido’s case.

The Dispute: Davido, one of Nigeria’s most popular contemporary artist has been involved, since New Year’s eve, in what is and will probably be one of the most contentious custody battle with Sophia (“Sophie”) Momodu, the mother of his child Imade. There are several things I do not like about this case and why I am filing it under AML’s ‘Celebrities Behaving Badly’ category. They are:

a)  All parties (Dele Momodu, Sophie Momodu and Davido) have been slinging mud in the streets of the internet and social media instead of the courtroom.

b) Davido clearly has no regard for his daughter with the way he insults the mother of his child. He treats Sophie Momodu, publicly, as some depository sperm bank. Of course we now know she had the audacity to get pregnant even though he had unprotected sex with her. The insults have flooded the internet from day one against this woman. I believe this is wrong and unacceptable for the sake of the child. So much so that I reached out to Davido to encourage him to resolve this amicably and privately. This is the woman you slept with and the mother of your child. It is what it is. Deal with it.

c) Davido has a terrible team (legal advisors, public relations specialist and family members) advising him on how to handle this crisis. This is not how you handle a crisis involving an alleged neglect or abuse by a parent. The child’s safety is the number one priority. Everything else is inconsequential. Davido needs to switch up on his current team, and also stand on his own as a human being, first, and then a man and stop letting whomever is writing on his behalf send statements that don’t fully capture who Davido is and what he wants to happen. I believe Davido is a good man. I believe he is a responsible man. His actions have been consistent over time and no one on both camps have denied it with their rendition of the facts. I believe he is being fed nonsense on persons preying on his emotions and he is translating it in public in a very bad way, mostly via those who purport to know what he wants and are managing his social media accounts for him. I also believe he is being manipulated on both sides i.e. by his family The Adelekes and the Momodus.

d) I am not crazy about how Dele Momodu has handled the publicity aspect of this case either. In fact, as a media/legal and publicity consultant, I can unequivocally say this is an epic fail. Dele Momodu taking Davido’s pictures at the airport and perambulating it on social media was unnecessary and disturbing. Dele Momodu releasing the taping of the dialogue at the airport online was unnecessary. That evidence can be used in a court of law. He started this publicity mess. I do think, however, Momodu has a right to fight for his cousin and to do so armed with the right facts and in the right way. Finally, having lived and immersed myself in Yoruba culture, I know among fellow Yoruba people, they pride themselves on having a culture of respect, so much so that men prostrate when greeting elders and women kneel. Therefore, under that culture and structure, the insults hurled by Davido against Dele Momodu is simply inappropriate and out of line; despite the actions of Momodu and especially since Momodu will most likely play a role in the life of the child from the look of things.

e) I am highly disappointed with the way this case is being tried in the court of public opinion and continued insults Davido has rained and continues to let members of his team acting through him rain on the mother of his child, Sophie. Even if Sophie has a substance abuse problem, as a society, and especially for those who claim to be educated, there must be a better way of dealing with those with substance abuse problems. Shaming, name calling, abusing her economic background, her educational status and all sort of nonsense that are entirely irrelevant to the matter at hand is off limits. I don’t believe the formal statements coming from Davido is in fact Davido’s, especially as one who also proudly claims to be an American citizen. As Americans, we rehabilitate or at least attempt to rehabilitate those with substance abuse problems. I do see the abuse coming from his family or his representatives who are so caught up in the fact that he is a billionaire’s son, not Davido. Newsflash to the team, billionaire is irrelevant in this equation. It is the best interest of the child that matters. All formal statements so far released by Davido have explicit and implicit coded legal language. Someone else clearly writes his statements.

f) Overall, it is time to pack it in on this drama, take it in-house and into a courtroom. If the child’s needs are that important as is claimed, then Davido cannot afford to be an immature parent and it is time to man up. Man up means you follow your heart, use your head and keep family and everyone else imposing their standards out of the equation. Do what you know is right for your daughter in your heart. Davido needs to hire a Family Law attorney in Nigeria who specialized in Child Dependency cases. Unfortunately I do not know of any in the Nigerian Enterainment Lawyers Group otherwise I would make a referral.

However, Davido needs to ask around, get a really good one, file the appropriate emergency protective order petition, since the child is still with Sophie Momodu, and if the court agrees that Sophie is a danger to Imade, then the court can award temporary custody of Imade to Davido. At that point, Davido no longer needs permission from anyone; or the alleged involvement of his sister allegedly lying to authorities that she is the mother of his child, to travel with his daughter. He can travel with Imade to the Dubai Hospital ASAP for care, assuming a Nigerian hospital cannot give Imade the care she needs, or he would rather just take his daughter out of the stressful environment. 

The way the families have handled this case is just highly embarrassing, disappointing and indeed I have such empathy for the one person who stays suffering from all the bickering, manipulation and immaturity displayed by the adults around her, Imade.

I have created a chart of how a typical Child Dependency System works in the USA. It is based on my personal experience as a lawyer who handled at least almost 100 of these kinds of cases in the past, and one who also understands and has dealt with crisis management in parallel situations like these. Nigeria has a parallel child dependency system and Davido talks about the agency in his statement. I have also shared the alleged facts by all parties to date so you all know exactly what is going on. I didn’t bother including all the insults that have been traded since December 30, 2015. They are a waste of space on this blog and not germane to the matter at hand, Imade.

To the Adelekes (Father, Sister and the rest of the Davido family), Dele Momodu (who I have interviewed in the past during his political aspirations as President), and Sophie Momodu, please take this drama offline and handle it in-house. Yes you can. You are putting a seven months old child in a situation where she has to choose who loves her the most, and worse, encouraging the public to do the same. The central question here is what is in the best interest of Imade? If you all can’t comport yourselves and work together for the best interest of Imade, then do take it to a courtroom so a Judge will make a decision with one thing and only one thing in mind, what is in the best interest of the child?

At this point, Lagos state Child Welfare Agency, given all the statements published on both sides, should take the initiative to step in and issue an emergency protective order, take Imade into its custody and file a petition to get this case going through the court system there. At this point, that agency has a legal duty under Nigeria’s child welfare codes to do so. It is their job.

-Ms. Uduak

How Child Dependency Cases Work in the USA



December 30, 201(5)
The Director General
National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons
No. 2028 Delaba Street
Wuse Zone 5
FCT, Abuja

Dear Madam,


We act as Solicitors for Miss. Sophia Ajibola Momodu, (hereinafter referred to as our client) whose instructions we have to forward this petition to your esteemed Agency.

Our client, a 27 year old, is the biological mother of a baby girl with name, Aurora Imade Adeleke, who was born on the 14th day of May 2015. The baby’s father is Mr. David Adedeji Adeleke (aka Davido). The father and mother are unmarried.

On the 11th July, 2015, our client was tricked to visit the house of Mr. David Adedeji Adeleke’s half sister – Miss Ashley Coco Adeleke’s with her baby, Imade Aurora Adeleke. After getting to the house on Baderinwa Alabi Street, Lekki Phase I, Lagos, our client’s baby was forcefully taken from her and she was thrown out of the premises with the threat that she would be decisively dealt with if she ever bothered to return there. There were armed policemen in the premises and our client’s survival instinct prevailed on her to make her leave her breast suckling baby behind, with so much pain in her heart.

By daybreak on the next day, our client was again at Ashley Coco Adeleke’s house to take her baby, but she was prevented by armed policemen from gaining access into the house. She was again threatened and warned never to return for the child.

Since July 2015, our client, who has now become so disorientated, saddened and confused has been going to family members, including her cousin, Mr Dele Momodu, and other well meaning Nigerians to intervene and allow her get her baby back or at least allow her to be able to have access to and care for her daughter. This was frustrated by Coco Adeleke, David Adeleke and their father, Mr. Adedeji Adeleke. These people boasted to our client and all her family and friends that our client is a nonentity and of little substance in Nigeria. They also claim that they have the financial wherewithal and political and security clout to deal with her and her family anyhow and without any consequence with the aid of their brother and uncle, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, and other friends Mr Deji Adeleke purportedly has in government. In a bid to justify their actions, Mr Deji Adeleke and his daughter, Ashley Coco Adeleke, have been spreading several malicious and unfounded allegations about our client.

While the attempts at finding a peaceful and lasting solution were still ongoing, on Tuesday the 29th December 2015, Ashley Coco Adeleke and her father, Mr Deji Adeleke, tried to travel to Dubai with our client’s baby. The baby was meant to be flown out of the country with Nigerian and American passports. Prior to that date, our client and her cousin, Mr Dele Momodu, had gone to alert the immigration services at the Murtala Mohammed, Ikeja International airport of the likelihood of Ashley Coco Adeleke travelling with our client’s baby by pretending to be the Mother. Our client believes that her baby’s American passport was hidden and is now likely to be in possession of Mr Deji Adeleke or Ashley Coco Adeleke. It appears that the assistance of Emirates Airline was sought as the baby’s American passport was not produced in breach of aviation regulations. Neither was a letter of authority from the mother to confirm her consent to the trip produced despite the airline being alerted.

When Mrs. Modupe Mofikoya, the immigration officer who attended to the Adeleke travelling party accosted Ashley Coco Adeleke and asked for the mother of the baby, Ashley Adeleke claimed that she was the mother. Immediately, the immigration officer on duty collected her Nigerian international passport, she quickly absconded from the scene with the baby and her father, Mr Deji Adeleke, showed up shortly afterwards to try to clear his daughter’s mess.

Our client with the help of her family members, including Mr Dele Momodu, determinedly resisted the attempt by Miss Ashley Coco Adeleke and her father, Mr Deji Adeleke, from taking Aurora Imade Adeleke from Lagos yesterday. Our client believes that the pair are trying to take the child to America and thus put her out of the reach of the biological mother.

At the moment, Miss Ashley Coco Adeleke and our client’s daughter, Aurora Imade Adeleke are still in Lagos and two of their respective international passports are in the custody of the airport immigration services. Our client’s fear now, is that Ashley Coco may use her Nigerian passport and Aurora Imade’s American passport to travel through other Nigerian or West African airports.

We know that the actions of Mr Deji Adeleke and Miss Ashley Coco Adeleke contravene many provisions of the law. One is Section 13 of the Childs Right Law 2007 of Lagos State (as adapted from the Federal Act), which guarantees Aurora Imade Adeleke’s right to parental care and protection. That law also forbids separation of a child from her parents. Another is Section 24 of the same law, which also prohibits abduction of a child from the lawful custody of her parents. Neither Mr Deji Adeleke or Ms Ashley Coco Adeleke has any lawful right to the custody of Aurora Imade Adeleke. Even the unmarried father, Mr David Adedeji Adeleke, only has limited rights to the child and certainly not to the exclusion of our client, the natural mother as the Adeleke’s are trying to do.

We are of the sound view that your Agency is the most viable organisation that can intervene in the plight of our client and save her from the untold trauma that she is going through in the hands of Mr Deji Adeleke and Ashley Coco Adeleke, who has her own child that she keeps with her. We have advised our client about the statutory powers of your Agency to potently investigate and enforce all the provisions of the law that deal with abduction and trafficking in persons.

We urge you to use your good offices to intervene in the case of our client and protect a baby who should still be under her mother’s care from being abducted and smuggled abroad.

We thank you.

Yours faithfully,

O. AJAYI & CO./Gbolaga Ajayi Esq.


Africa Music Law™

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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