Fernandez, 78, died on Tuesday evening in a private hospital in Brussels, Belgium after battling with an undisclosed illness for several months. He died in the presence of his wife, Halima Maude Fernandez.
Fernandez was one of Nigeria’s most reclusive and mysterious moneybags. The intensely private Nigerian diplomat formerly served as the Central African Republic’s ambassador to the United Nations. Between 1982 and 1984 he served as advisor to the Angolan government on economic matters. He was subsequently appointed as deputy permanent representative of Mozambique in the United Nations in 1984. Between 1992 and 1995 he served as a special adviser to the president of Mozambique on International Economic Matters.
Apart from scant information available in the public domain, very little was known about him. He hardly granted interviews. He spent his last days in Belgium. He was believed to enjoy a close friendship to Angola’s president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, and his natural resources company Petro Inett, had extensive gold, diamond and oil mining interests in Angola and the Central African Republic. He divided his time between lavish homes in France, Scotland and the United States. In 2003, Fernandez’s former wife reportedly sued him for close to $400 million in a record divorce fight. Very little was heard about the case afterwards. In 2010, he put up one of his properties in New Rochelle for sale for $12 million.
Ambassador Fernandez is survived by 9 children, several grandchildren and great grandchildren.