The former Minister of Petroleum in Nigeria and first female president of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Diezani Alison-Madueke, is one of those whose names have been listed several times by the leading anti-graft body in Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as part of government officials who stole public funds during the previous administration. Some of her assets in Nigeria were featured as been seized in a video posted online by Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based news network. Unlike before, she broke her silence by reacting to the video report by the foreign medium.
Al Jazeera’s video report on ‘Nigeria Corruption’ claimed that EFCC seized a property in Abuja worth $18 million from Diezani. The same report claimed jewelry, furniture and a bulletproof gym worth $2 million were recovered from the building.
Below are excerpts from the reaction letter signed by Diezani herself and exclusively obtained by Signal.
Diezani describes media reports about her seized properties as sheer mockery of Nigeria’s anti-corruption war before the eyes of the world
“This will not be the first time calculated attempts have been made to demonise and damage my reputation in the public space. Many times, my detractors have gotten away with these irresponsible smear campaigns because they have become accustomed to my characteristic approach of silence in the face of these callous attacks.
“The latest in the string of propaganda attacks launched against my person since I left government as Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister is this Al Jazeera report, which without any court conviction anywhere in the world attempts to dress Diezani Alison Madueke in the garb of a common criminal. This, to say the least, is the height of journalistic brigandage and a sheer mockery of Nigeria’s anti-corruption war before the eyes of the world who are watching and asking if the war against corruption is a circus show where suspects are prosecuted and sentenced on the pages of newspapers and video blogs without anything as remotely in the semblance of a trial in the courts of law.”
On her seized property and jewelry, she said women selling tomatoes in Bodija market have them in abundance in their closets
“When did it become a crime to own a property in Nigeria? When did it become a crime for a woman of my status to have in her possession, jewelry? Jewelry, which women all across the world, including the woman selling tomatoes in Bodija market have in abundance in their closets? In which court of law, anywhere in the world was I prosecuted by the EFCC and found guilty of corruption?”
I have strived to maintain a record of hard work, integrity and excellence, giving my best to society, Diezani wrote
“With all sense of modesty, I say this only for posterity and for the records. I have strived within my means and the blessings of God to live a decent and accomplished life. I studied architecture in England and obtained a bachelor’s degree from Howard University, United States of America in 1992. When I returned to Nigeria that same year, I joined Shell Petroleum Development Corporation. In 2002, I obtained an MBA at Cambridge University, United Kingdom. In April 2006, I was appointed by Shell as the company’s first female Executive Director in Nigeria. In July 2007, I was appointed by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as Minister of Transport. The next year in December 2008 I became Minister of Mines and Steel Development. In April 2010, I was appointed as Minister for Petroleum Resources and served in that capacity till May 2015. During this period as Petroleum Minister, I had the honour of serving Nigeria and representing her in the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) where I was elected first female President. All through my career, I have strived to maintain a record of hard work, integrity and excellence, giving my best to society, because my parents raised me in the consciousness that a man or woman’s greatness is defined not by the amount of wealth they have acquired but the impact of their service to God and humanity.”
She confirmed that she is battling cancer
“Coming at such a critical time in my life when I am battling cancer, this poorly executed propaganda bares on its face like tribal marks, a clearly malicious attempt to victimize an innocent woman in what appears an exaggerated plot to validate and give credibility to the anti-corruption crusade under Nigeria’s new regime. People who are battling cancer or those who have lost their loved ones to this medical condition understand what I am going through at this time. This is what makes me ponder at the cold-heartedness of those who will go any length to defame and destroy in the name of propaganda. What happened to our shared humanity?”
Here is Al Jazeera’s video report