“The EFCC has also recovered about $153 million and more than 80 properties from her in Nigeria. The US Department of Justice has also been able to recover assets totaling $53.1 million linked to her alleged corruption, thanks to evidence provided by the NCA.”
PEGASUS REPORTERS, LAGOS | OCTOBER 3, 2023
Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke was once one of the most powerful women in Nigeria. She served as the Minister of Petroleum Resources from 2010 to 2015, and was the first female president of OPEC in 2014. She was a close ally of former President Goodluck Jonathan, and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle with access to millions of dollars.
But her fortunes changed when Jonathan lost the 2015 presidential election to Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State and leader of the opposition party. Tinubu vowed to fight corruption and recover looted funds from the previous administration. He appointed Lateef Fagbemi as the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and gave him the mandate to prosecute Alison-Madueke and other former officials.
Alison-Madueke had fled to London before the election, claiming that she needed medical treatment for breast cancer. She denied any wrongdoing and said she was ready to face trial in Nigeria. However, she soon found out that she was not safe in the UK either. The National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested her in October 2015, along with four other people, on suspicion of bribery and money laundering. The NCA alleged that she had accepted financial rewards for awarding oil and gas contracts worth billions of dollars, and had used the money to buy luxury properties, cars, jewelry, and other goods in the UK.
The NCA froze her assets and charged her with bribery offences in August 2023. She is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on October 2, 2023. Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has also requested her extradition from the UK, citing a warrant of arrest issued by a magistrate in Nigeria. The request was made by Fagbemi on the orders of Tinubu, following a written official request by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria’s anti-graft agency.
The EFCC has levelled a 13-count charge against Alison-Madueke, accusing her of stealing $2.5 billion from the Nigerian government while heading the petroleum ministry. The EFCC has also recovered about $153 million and more than 80 properties from her in Nigeria. The US Department of Justice has also been able to recover assets totaling $53.1 million linked to her alleged corruption, thanks to evidence provided by the NCA.
Alison-Madueke faces a long and uncertain legal battle in both countries. She has maintained her innocence and said she is a victim of political persecution. She has also accused Tinubu of being behind a media campaign to tarnish her image and influence public opinion against her. She has appealed to Nigerians to pray for her and support her quest for justice.
Will Alison-Madueke be able to prove her innocence and clear her name? Or will she be convicted and sentenced for her crimes? How will her case affect Nigeria’s oil sector and its relations with the UK? These are some of the questions that await answers as the story unfolds.
By Oyakhamoh Y. Carl-Abu’Bakar
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