Thursday, January 31, 2008
Iyabo Obasanjo wanted in the U.S for kidnapping
Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, the first daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, is wanted in the U.S. for child kidnapping as well as delinquency in court-mandated child support fees.
According to court documents obtained by Saharareporters, Senator Obasanjo-Bello was declared wanted by U.S. District Court Judge Charles T.L. Anderson for kidnapping and stowing away her son after another court had awarded custody to her estranged husband.
Court documents show that Iyabo Obasanjo and Mr. Akeem Bello were married in September 1999, a few months after her father was elected and sworn-in as Nigeria's president. Going by court records obtained by our correspondent, the marriage did not last beyond 2003.
Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello was a plaintiff in a divorce case heard by Alonzo B. Coleman Jnr of the State of Carolina General Court of Justice, District Court Division. Filed on May 19, 2003, the case had file number 03 CVD 384.
In the course of the hearings, her former husband, Mr. Akeem Bello, prayed that the court award him custody of their only child, Jimi Bello, who was born on January 1, 2000 in Chatham County, North Carolina. The court subsequently granted him custody.
However, on July 27, 2004, Iyabo “kidnapped” Jimi Bello from Akeem Bello’s home in Pittsboro and fled to Nigeria with the child. After a series of failed efforts to get Ms. Obasanjo-Bello to return the child to the rightful custody of his father, Mr. Akeem Bello, District Court Judge Charles T.L. Anderson ruled on May 9, 2005 that she was in contempt of the court.
The court asked local, state and international law enforcement officers to take Ms. Obasanjo-Bello into custody. If arrested, she should “be committed to the Chatham County Jail located in Pittsboro, North Carolina, U.S.A,” the judge ruled.
Judge Anderson’s ruling decreed as follows:
1. “Effective May 13, 2005 in event plaintiff DOES NOT purge herself under para 5 below, that the plaintiff is hereby committed to the custody of the Sheriff of the Chatham County to be placed in the Chatham county Jail or other appropriate jail or prison until such time as she purges herself of contempt by complying with the Order of April 20, 2004 and August 23, 2004, signed by Honorable Alonzo B. Coleman.
2. “Effective May 13, 2005 in event plaintiff DOES NOT purge herself under para 5 below, it is further ordered that the sheriff of Chatham County, or any other law enforcement officer in North Carolina, the United States of America, or any international law enforcement officer shall take the plaintiff, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello (with Social Security number XXX-28-XXXX) into their custody and the plaintiff shall thereafter be committed to the Chatham County Jail located in Pittsboro, North Carolina, U.S.A. or other available detention facility until such a time as the plaintiff is purged of contempt by this court by delivering Jimi Bello (Date of Birth: January 1, 2000, social security # XXX-93-XXXX) to the custody of his father, the Defendant as ordered herein.
The arrest order explains the fact that Ms. Obasanjo-Bello has not visited the U.S. since taking flight with her son in 2004.
Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello is currently mired in a criminal controversy following revelation by an Austrian company that she used fake names to sign a partnership agreement with them. Late last year, officials of the Austrian company, M. Schneider, alleged that Obasanjo-Bello used the alias of "Damilola Akinlawon" to sign a joint agreement to execute power projects, promising to use her influence to get her father to approve power projects running into billions of naira. In addition to misrepresenting her identity on the agreement, Ms. Obasanjo-Bello also won her father’s approval for juicy contracts in the name of an Austrian company that had no experience building power plants.
The EFCC is supposedly investigating the case, but no charges have been brought against the senator by the anti-corruption agency.
A source close to the senator has disclosed to our correspondent that fear of being arrested by Interpol for kidnapping her son partly informed the senator’s decision to travel around Austria and Indonesia under the disguise of her mother’s name-We could however not confirm If she possesses a diplomatic passport which may have helped her evade arrest within international borders .
Apart from the civil contempt charges that led the Chatham County authorities to place Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello under Interpol watch, she is also in violation of court-ordered custody payments (called “child support” in the US). According to court authorities, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello was ordered to pay $875 per month in child support payments to her former husband, Mr. Akeem Bello, effective October 24, 2004. However, court records show that she has not paid any dime in these mandated child support contribution.
Saharareporters found out that she currently owes her former husband $35,013.20 in unpaid “child support” payments.
Under North Carolina state laws, non-custodial parents who refuse to pay child support are given the opportunity to explain the reason for their delinquency. In the case of Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, she refused to show up in court even after the judge in the case had issued “order to show cause” to her lawyer, Susan Lewis, whom she retained to obtain her divorce from Mr. Bello. In frustration, her lawyer asked the court’s permission to step down from representing the former president’s daughter in the case.
Yesterday, Senate President David Bonadventure Mark prevented a senator from Niger State, Nuhu Aliyu from naming persons of questionable character in Nigeria’s upper legislative chambers. However, our sources revealed that Ms. Obasanjo-Bello was included on the list of crooked senators to be named.
Others include, the senate president, David Alechenu Bonadventure Mark (minister of communication under IBB cited for embezzlement, corruption and abuse of office); Annie Okonkwo (419/Drugs); Ike Ekweremadu (Corruption-On EFCC’s Corruption list); Jubril Aminu (embezzlement and bribery-mentioned in Siemens bribery scandal); Comrade Chukwumerije (embezzlement and corruption, minister of information during IBB/June 12 era); Eze Ayogu (419); Smart Adeyemi (former NUJ president-419, embezzlement and corruption also named as a front for Peter Odili, former governor of Rivers State now on the run); George Akume (former Benue gov.-Corruption /embezzlement); Chimaroke Nnamani (former Enugu gov. -Corruption/Money Laundering); Sanni Yerima (former Zamfara gov.Corruption/Ebezzlement); Iyiola Omisore (Murder, 419 and Certificate Scam), Gbemisola Saraki (Family Bank Fraud per Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria); Bode Olajumoke (Linked with Abacha’s Corruption), Grace Folashade Bent (recently involved in obtaining fake degree from Irish International University/419); Victor Egba Idoma (Corruption relating to Third Term Money controversy) and Ibrahim Saminu Turaki ( former Jigawa gov. Corruption, Embezzlement and Fraud). Senator Nuhu Aliyu promises to name more persons in the senate with fraudulent backgrounds.