Jennifer Douglas and Atiku Abubakar
Douglas and Atiku when the going was good

Former wife of Nigeria’s ex vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Ms Jennifer Douglas, has explained that their union broke down due to disagreements over her continued stay in the United Kingdom, amongst other long-standing issues.

Ms Douglas, Nigerian Television Authority News correspondent in the 1980s, whose separation from Atiku was finalised on June 26, 2021, is currently in a rift with the former vice president over a Dubai property, among others.

The estranged wife in a statement on Tuesday, amid rumours over what had caused her separation from her former husband, explained that her continued stay in the United Kingdom was the key reason, even as she did dismiss suggestions that she took exception to Atiku taking a fourth wife.

“The core reason for the divorce was disagreement over my continued stay in the United Kingdom, to look after my children and several other long-standing issues. I needed to play the role of a mother at this time to the children who have gone through the absence of both father and mother growing up; especially, with the passage of my elder sister who used to look after them,” she said in the statement.

Ms Douglas, a U.S. citizen, said some of her ex-husband’s close associates, including Peter Okocha, Ben Obi, Tunde Ayeni, Captain Yahaya, and Ben Bruce, tried to mediate, but it yielded no positive results.

The union that lasted over two decades was rumoured to have ended because Mr Abubakar married a new wife, and in her statement, Ms Douglas confirmed that Atiku married a fourth wife, but justified the move, saying that he is a Muslim and is at liberty to marry as many wives as he desires.

Although she acknowledged being aware of the marriage, despite not being officially informed, she said she supported his 2019 presidential race and also invited them to her son’s wedding in 2018.

She went to claim that Atiku attempted to retrieve an asset he had earlier gifted to her, adding that the property in Dubai is a subject of litigation.

Her statement in full:

For some time now, especially in the last few weeks, there have been many rumours and in circulation about the state of my marriage to His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri Adamawa, GCON.

The stories got more vicious as they continued to circulate. Therefore, I deem it necessary to defend myself against the calculated propaganda to malign my character and position me in a bad light and damage my name. Therefore, without resorting to nonsensical talk, I will address the two critical issues at hand:

(1) I asked for a divorce because His Excellency married again.

(2) That I sold His Excellency’s house in Dubai.

That I asked for a divorce because His Excellency got married again.

• On June. 26, 2021, I asked His Excellency to grant me a divorce in light of the breakdown of our marriage. And, during that period, I told His Excellency that I remain at his service to continue to assist him in his activities even if I am no longer married to him. Suffice it to say that several friends of His Excellency tried to mediate in this matter. I thank them most graciously and remain grateful for their efforts: Peter Okocha, Senator Ben Obi, Tunde Ayeni, Captain Yahaya, and Senator Ben Bruce.

• The core reason for the divorce was disagreement over my continued stay in the United Kingdom to look after my children and several other long-standing issues. I needed to play the role of a mother at this time to the children who have gone through the absence of both father and mother growing up, especially with the passage of my elder sister, who used to look after them. Furthermore, in light of COVID-19 times, choosing to stay with the children was non-negotiable. And, in line with Northern culture, the new wife takes up the baton so I can also focus on giving the kids more care.

• Despite not informing us officially according to northern/Islamic culture, I knew about His Excellency’s new wife from the time His Excellency was dating her and when he eventually married her. Therefore, I have graciously invited our new wife to my son’s wedding in Dubai in 2018 without any ill feelings and congratulated His Excellency when our new wife gave birth.

• I was already aware that His Excellency had married our new wife, but that did not deter me from supporting His Excellency. Indeed, we went through most rigorous electioneering and garnered massive support for his election in 2019.

• That His Excellency married a new wife was never the cause of our problem, as many have said. His Excellency is a Muslim, and I have never questioned him about his wives or intended.

I hope this brings this issue to rest as I did not leave the house because of his new marriage.

Moving out of the matrimonial home in Asokoro and Yola

That His Excellency married a new wife was never the cause of our problem, as many have said. His Excellency is a Muslim, and I have never questioned him about his wives or intended.

I hope this brings this issue to rest as I did not leave the house because of his new marriage.

Moving out of the matrimonial home in Asokoro and Yola

The matrimonial home in Asokoro where we reside was gifted to me by him even before we moved into that home from a previous residence. Indeed, His Excellency caused his Private Secretary to process the DEED of Assignment documents for the house, which he did and handed me the documents. I then commenced processing the title to the property.

• During the initial mediation discussion, His Excellency denied that he gifted the house. Even after I showed him the document with the signatures of his aide, His Excellency asked me to give him the deed of gift. When I asked him, “where will the kids and I stay when we come to Nigeria?” he told me that since I am the one that asked for a divorce, I should find a place to stay, and subsequently, I moved out.

• His Excellency further gave orders to have my nephews living with me in the house ejected within an hour of his order and gave orders that my family members and I are not allowed to enter the house. Hence, during my last visit to Nigeria in December 2021, I stayed at a hotel. I have long released these assets to him and, at this moment, reiterate that the titles are at his disposal to pick up whenever he deems fit.

Dubai home

• There has been a lot of speculation on the Dubai home. For a while now, I had purposely stayed away from Dubai until I took custody of that property in September 2021 after His Excellency reneged on his word to give the current value of the said property in exchange. When I came to Nigeria in early September 2021. I asked to have a private conversation with His Excellency. During that conversation, I informed His Excellency that I would go to Dubai and take over the house once I got back to the United Kingdom. He subsequently departed for his medical trip to Germany, refusing to address any issues I privately wanted to conclude with him outside of third parties.

• I subsequently travelled to Dubai and took custody of the said property. Once I did that, on September 18, 2021, His Excellency sent me a text, and I quote: “I hear you have moved to Dubai to take over the house. I am still in Germany for my medicals. Please make sure all my properties, including (redacted), are intact so that I can collect all my properties. I wish you well.

• I responded to him: “His Excellency, I am left with no other option as we need to get on with our lives amicably. I hope your medicals are coming up well. I wish you well too’.

• On September 19, 2021, in response to his text that I am not being amicable and I quote,” Good morning, with due respect, His Excellency, I told you on Saturday before you left for Germany that I was going back to the U.K., take [our son] back for his test, then come to Dubai. I reiterated that day the need for an amicable resolution. I maintain that stance and remain at your service, Your Excellency’.

Further on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, I asked His Excellency in another text whether he wanted me to pack up his clothes and give them to Rahim (his driver) since the driver on his instructions was moving his cars. I also asked His Excellency in that text whether he wanted me to have Rahim pack up his office. Then, His Excellency sent me a text back and asked: ‘So, it’s true you have sold the villa?’

• Subsequently, His Excellency sent the driver to take possession of all the cars.

The truth subsists with regard to the Dubai house. I will make no further comments on it because it is a subject of litigation filed by His Excellency against me.

I need to also put on record that if I wanted to take His Excellency’s assets, I would not have returned to him his property documents in Abuja and Jos and allowed the driver to collect his cars, gave up the house in Asokoro and Yola.

When I was in Nigeria, I called to have the Asokoro and Yola documents delivered to him. But, unfortunately, it was never picked up, and I still state that His Excellency is free to send someone to have the documents picked up anytime he deems fit.

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