Olubukola Ajayi, a caring mother who recently lost her children’s custody appeal in an Ontario court, has launched a GoFundMe account.
According to Ajayi, she needs funds to cover the fees court ordered her to pay to her ex-husband’s legal team, the debt incurred for her legal fees as well as therapy and living expenses as she builds the bandwidth and strength to find her feet again in Canada.
On her GoFundMe page, she wrote: “On the 19th of November 2021, with my three children aged four (4) years, two (2) years, and two (2) months old at the time, I escaped my severely abusive (physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, verbal, and financial) marriage and relationship of ten years. I and my children are Nigerian-Canadian and we lived with my ex-husband in Nigeria for about 5 years.
“Just as I found the courage to request for an end to my toxic marriage, my ex-husband and his family became very threatening and specifically, his father, in a move to intimidate me, explicitly and menacingly told me that he would absolutely not tolerate a divorce, and should I attempt to do so, he would take my three children from me, including my new-born infant! The very next day, I disrupted my entire life, and I fled for Canada, my second home country; enduring an arduous journey from Nigeria to Canada with my three young children in tow.
“Knowing my ex-husband would come after me for escaping and saving my children, I immediately engaged legal services when I arrived in Canada to protect my rights as a mother. Being a dual citizen, I had prayed that the courts in Canada would accept jurisdiction to adjudicate custody arrangements and parental rights, and shield me from being victimized by the patriarchal and shifty landscape in Nigeria that my ex-husband and his family would no doubt use their wealth and influence to exploit.
“My ex-husband submitted a Divorce and Custody Petition to the courts in his state of origin, Ekiti, Nigeria (though our residence and our lives were based in Lagos State) making several false and inflammatory allegations in an attempt to scandalize me before the courts and society in general. He is seeking full custody of my children together with his mother, and has outlined in his court filings his reasons for doing so are because I “look and behave like a man”, I am “mentally unstable”, “undomesticated and not the primary caregiver of our children”, “a member of the LGBTQIA+ community”, a “bra burning feminist”, and an “atheist”, thus making me an unfit mother. His mother as well submitted her nursing certifications and has testified before the court that she is better suited to raise my three children.
“Any one of the above allegations would easily condemn a person in a deeply religious and culturally conservative country such as Nigeria. It has been/is nauseating to see him lean into base bigotry, outright lie, and manipulate half-truths just to punish me for leaving his life-threatening clutches, and our dangerous marriage.
“I have spent months and my family has spent tens of thousands of dollars navigating the legal landscape in Canada. I have been heartbroken multiple times by how harshly I have been dealt with. My attempts to communicate the level of danger I was/am in has simply been lost in translation. Ultimately, the courts declined jurisdiction and ordered a return of the children to Nigeria with or without me, and if necessary with the use of police force. I have also been ordered by the courts to pay my ex-husband’s legal expenses and court fees in the amount of $45,000.
“Like many survivors of abuse, I KNOW my abuser and I KNOW that I cannot be near or within reach of him because with him, my life is in jeopardy. In choosing my safety, I have decided not to return to Nigeria, and I am now forced to fight and forge ahead for now, without my children.
“I am starting my life from scratch; my finances, mental health, physical health, and life force have been severely depleted as I have been in survival mode for an extended period. I need all the help, and assistance to recover, start anew, and gain some strength to continue my fight for my children, on whom I will NEVER give up.
“Here is a breakdown of the expenses for which I am fundraising:
$45,000: Court-ordered Fees to be paid to my ex-husband’s legal team.
$35,000: Debt incurred for my own legal fees.
$30,000: Therapy and Living expenses as I build the bandwidth and strength to find my feet again in Canada and become gainfully employed.”
Donations can be made into her GoFundMe account here
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