Cablegate: Harty Meeting with Gon Mfa On Child Abduction

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

121155Z Oct 04




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. SUMMARY. On Monday, September 20, 2004, CA Assistant
Secretary Maura Harty, Ambassador Campbell, CA Special

Assistant, and CONOFF met with GON MFA officials B. A.
Fadumiyo (Acting Director of Consular and Legal
Department) and Sani Bala (Deputy Director of Consular
and Immigration Division). The purpose of the meeting
was to discuss child abduction issues and to ask for MFA
assistance with seven pending child abduction cases in
Nigeria. Fadumiyo advised that his office would look
into the specific cases, but was not swayed on the merits
of joining the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction. END SUMMARY

2. The A/S advised the MFA of the benefits of the Hague
Convention to both the mother and the father, no matter
the nationality. Fadumiyo responded that the rights of
the father are paramount under GON law unless the mother
is financially better off than the father. Even then,
Fadumiyo expressed his personal opinion that the father
should carry all rights to the children. Fadumiyo and
Bala indicated that families should make informal
arrangements on child custody, outside the legal system.

3. If the GON was not open to the Hague Convention, A/S
Harty asserted, then perhaps the MFA would consider
negotiating an alternative agreement facilitating
parental and consular access in child abduction and
custody cases. A/S Harty indicated that the U.S. has
signed Memoranda of Understanding with two Middle East
countries. Both MOUs emphasize shared principles and
establish a framework for consultations and cooperation
on facilitating parental access.

4. A/S Harty raised with the MFA seven pending child
abduction and wrongful retention cases involving 13
American citizen children. She pressed the MFA to allow
the left-behind parents access to their respective
children, all of whom had been left with relatives when
the taking parents returned to the United States.
Fadumiyo agreed to investigate the cases and report his
findings to the Embassy.

5. Assistant Secretary Harty has cleared this cable.


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