A U.S.-based Nigerian couple has narrated how a surrogate mother absconded with their twins shortly after birth.
The surrogate mother, Gift Solomon, had in a statement by her lawyer on Monday alleged that the couple, Shullam and Gamaliel Onyemaobi, abandoned their twins with her without financial support.
But the couple, responding to PREMIUM TIMES enquiry via an email on Thursday, said they never abandoned the children. They said it was the surrogate mother who took the children out of their reach.
Ms Solomon, through her lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, narrated her ordeal with her aunt.
The 25-year-old said the couple approached her and she agreed to the process “after much pressure” because they could not bear children on their own.
She further said that she agreed to become a surrogate mother after her aunt agreed to sponsor her education abroad, take care of her parents’ medical bills, and “fully cater for her personal, antenatal and postnatal needs and other essential and ancillary needs.”
“Following the acceptance of the above conditions by Mr and Mrs Onyemaobi, our client was admitted at a fertility clinic in Lagos State in February 2021 where she successfully underwent the process of traditional surrogacy resulting in her pregnancy and eventual delivery of a set of male twins named Chukwuemeka and Chinonso,” the statement read.
“However, our client briefed us that soon after she donated her eggs which were extracted from her and artificially inseminated using sperm purportedly from Mr Onyemaobi, which resulted in her pregnancy, the couple abandoned her to her fate and did not show reasonable concern or care towards her and her unborn babies.
“It took persistent complaints from our client before the couple reluctantly sent a paltry sum of N600,000 (Six Hundred Thousand Naira Only) to her at two instalments of N400,000 and N200,000 respectively.”
The lawyer said that the money was not “sufficient to cater for the expensive antenatal and postnatal medical and related needs of our client and the set of twins,” and all efforts to get the couple to fulfil their part of the agreement were futile.
The surrogate mother said they placed the babies who were born prematurely in an incubator with no financial support from her aunt, adding that they should hold her aunt responsible if something harmful happens to her children.
“After I exhausted my money in Lagos. I travelled to the east to meet my mother where I gave birth to a twin at 32 weeks. I was admitted to the hospital a month before delivery and they were in the incubator because they weighed below 2kg when they were born.
“I was admitted because I was very sick all that while she never reached out,” she said.
“I can’t release these children no matter what. I don’t want money. All I want is that they should leave me and my family alone because if anything happens to me tomorrow, they are my prime suspect.”
The lawyer said the couple is threatening his client with the Interpol and the Nigerian police “to illegally and forcefully seize a set of twins which they had abandoned,” after her fiance has catered for the bills.
Responding to this newspaper’s enquiry, the couple said that the surrogate mother “ran away” with their children in June and refused to return to the Dutch embassy for her visa appointment.
“Our marriage is already blessed with five wonderful children and one adopted son. We decided we wanted more.
“Our personal decision is to pay a surrogate to have them so that my wife may rest and have the strength and optimum health to raise our anticipated large family.
“We are healthy and fertile, but we are not getting younger. For that reason, I decided to make it easier for my wife. To say we cannot have children is patently false and defamatory; Mr Effiong had 48 hours to apologize in the news daily or bring proof or face dire legal consequences.”
Mr Onyemaobi said it is untrue to say that they persuaded Ms Solomon to serve as a surrogate, adding that she begged his wife to allow her to go through the process.
He stressed that they had no written or oral agreement to sponsor her education and pay her parents’ medical bills.
“Further, there is no way we can promise Chinyere Iheanyi Solomon that we will take her to America and sponsor her in nursing school when we have bought her a laptop and have already trained her from kindergarten to the HND (level),” he said.
“Already we are the ones that built a house for them in their village and taking care of Gift Chinyere Solomon and her family in every way for the last 30 years. We never had any situation where we needed to pay for the surgery of any family member, and it was not paid.
“We usually take care of them, Just like we spent almost a million Naira to treat Chinyere Gift Solomon her chronic Syphilis. We did not have to put it in writing before we helped her.”
He noted that before Ms Solomon allegedly ran away in June, they had lodged her in the presidential suite of a hotel in the Festac area in Lagos, where they paid a monthly bill of N480.000.
“We paid for all her feeding expenses, we gave her a live-in nanny to assist her cook for her, go to market and perform every necessary chore for her. We also have a driver and car to take her anywhere at our own expense for the rest of the pregnancy.
“We registered Chinyere Gift at a well-known upper-class hospital and deposited money for her to be seeing the doctor as often as required. After all, we are talking about American babies here. Yes. American babies.
“The doctors, the hospital staff, the paid nanny and driver, and the hotel mentioned here and their bank payments are pretty much available ready to testify and prove all we have said here as absolute facts.”
He claimed that the surrogate mother violated the surrogacy privacy and abstinence agreement by having sexual intercourse with her lover, Chukwunonso Okoye, while carrying their babies.
Mr Onyemaobi further said that the lovers have resorted to “24/7 harassing threats and extortion gimmicks” and they were left with no choice than to invite the security operatives at different levels.
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