Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello wanted in the U.S for child kidnapping
Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello
The court has also instituted contempt charges against her for failing to honor a summons issued by the judge. North Carolina District Court clerk told The Sun the court’s decision was based on the fact that the child in dispute is an American citizen. "When an America citizen is kidnapped, the FBI is invited to investigate the case and that is what is going on in this process," the clerk said.
According to court officials, Sen. Obasanjo-Bello is wanted by for kidnapping and taking away her son after another court had awarded custody to her estranged husband. Filed papers revealed that Iyabo Obasanjo married Akeem Bello in September 1999. The marriage was dissolved in 2003. Mr. Akeem Bello then asked for custody of the product of the marriage, Jimi Bello.
Officials said on July 27, 2004, Iyabo took Jimi Bello from Akeem Bello’s home in Pittsboro and left for Nigeria without court authorization. The court has requested local, state and international law enforcement officers to arrest Obasanjo-Bello on sight.
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. 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, 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.
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.
The EFCC is supposedly investigating the case, but no charges have been brought against the senator by the anti-corruption agency.
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.
It was found 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.