10-years-ago, precisely 27 November 2014, at the 166th OPEC Ordinary meeting in Vienna, Austria, Nigeria’s Diezani K. Alison-Madueke made history as the first female President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, succeeding Libyan Vice-Prime Minister for Corporations, Abdourhman Atahar Al-Ahirish.
Barely three weeks after her OPEC election, Alison-Madueke who was Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources, was appointed as the President of the Ministerial Meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, becoming the first woman to be so appointed by the body.
One would have predicted that the record-breaker would go on to become the first female president of Nigeria but sadly, 10 years down the line, the record-breaking Alison-Madueke has faded into the abyss, becoming a fugitive in her home country following allegations of corruption and embezzlement.
Nigeria has often been plagued by corruption scandals and through a joint operation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, several high-ranking public officials have been arrested and charged with various offences, including bribery, fraud, money laundering, and abuse of power.
According to the latest Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International, Nigeria ranks 154 out of 180 countries, with a score of 24 out of 100, indicating a high level of perceived corruption in the public sector.
Among the public office holders who have been arrested and charged with corruption, Alison-Madueke’s case stands out having been charged with multiple counts of corruption, money laundering, and abuse of office.
Here’s a timeline of how Alison-Madueke moved from grace to grass:
Born December 6 1960 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Alison-Madueke reportedly attended Hussey Model School, Township School, Port Harcourt and Holy Rosary Government Girls Secondary School where she sat for her WASCE in 1975. She bagged her A’ Levels at the Federal School of Arts and Sciences in Mubi, Gongola State (now Adamawa State) before relocating to the United Kingdom in 1977 to study Architecture. She moved to Howard University in the United States and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Architecture. She attended in 2002, she attended Cambridge Judge Business School for her MBA degree.
She worked in the United States before returning to Nigeria to join Shell Petroleum Development Corporation.
2006 – She was appointed as Shell’s first woman Executive Director, in Nigeria.
2007 – Alison Madueke became Nigeria’s Transportation Minister.
2008 – She became the Minister of Mines and Steel Development of Nigeria.
2010 – Nigeria’s first Minister of Petroleum Resources. When former Vice President Goodluck Jonathan became acting President in February 2010, he dissolved the cabinet on March 17, 2010, and swore in a new cabinet on April 6, 2010, with Alison-Madueke as Minister for Petroleum Resources.
2010 – She became the first woman to lead a national delegation to an OPEC conference. Works to promote Nigeria’s interests abroad and entrench Nigeria’s right to take its views into account in global energy discussions. Honorary Doctorate in Management Sciences, Nigerian Defence Academy.
Alison-Madueke, who served as minister from 2010 to 2015 under former President Goodluck Jonathan, is alleged to have siphoned off over $2.5 billion from the state-owned oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and used the funds to acquire luxury properties, jewellery, and artworks in Nigeria and abroad.
2009 – In October 2009, the Senate indicted Alison-Madueke and recommended prosecution for the transfer of N1.2 billion into the private account of a toll company without due process and in breach of the concession agreement.
She was officially charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for ‘Money Laundering’.
Madueke was among three defendants, including the Yola South LG electoral officer – Ibrahim Mohammed, and a retired INEC staff and Adamawa State coordinator of West African Network of Election Observers – Sahabo Iya-Hamman, charged for allegedly deploying over N362 million derived from one $115m slush fund to influence the result of the 2015 presidential elections in favour of the candidate of the then-ruling People’s Democratic Party.
2014 – Former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, reacted to the audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the alleged missing $20 billion oil money, saying the report confirmed in the first instance that at least $18.5 billion was indeed missing when Diezani Alison-Madueke was the petroleum minister.
2015 – Diezani left office on June 1, 2015, as part of the presidential transition to Jonathan’s successor. She then went to work for the Commonwealth of Dominica as a Trade and Investment Commissioner and bought herself a diplomatic passport.
2015 – On October 2, 2015, Reuters reported that Alison-Madueke had been arrested by the UK’s National Crime Agency in London, along with four other people on suspicion of bribery and corruption offences. However, a spokesperson for the police denied having any knowledge of the incident. Her family and the Nigerian Government confirmed that she had been arrested in London.
2017 – A Lagos court ordered the forfeiture of the former minister’s Banana Island mansion which is said to have 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses. The EFCC revealed that Diezani purchased the property sometime in 2013 at the price of $37.5m, which she paid in cash.
2017 – On August 28, 2017, a Nigerian federal court seized 7.6 billion naira ($21 million) from bank accounts linked to Alison-Madueke.
2017 – In 2017, the US Justice Department’s kleptocracy team seized $145 million worth of assets that had been purchased “for the benefit of” Ms. Alison-Madueke. Among the assets was a $50 million apartment in Manhattan, New York, properties in California, and an $80 million 200-foot yacht; Galactica Star, all dubbed fruits of an international bribery scheme involving the embattled Nigerian former minister.
Two Nigerian oilmen, Kolawole Aluko and Olajide Omokore, allegedly bribed Mrs Alison-Madueke to win oil contracts.
2021 – A report by The Punch revealed that other properties forfeited by Diezani include 125 wedding gowns, 13 small gowns, 41 waist trainers, 73 hard flowers, 11 suits, 11 invisible bras, 73 veils, 30 braziers, two standing fans, 17 magic skirts, six blankets, one table blanket and 64 pairs of shoes.
2023 – In October 2023, a court in the United Kingdom trying Alison-Madueke over bribery allegations adjourned a hearing on the suit involving allegedly accepting a £100,000 bribe.
The UK’s National Crime Agency stated in August 2023 that they suspected Alison-Madueke of accepting bribes in exchange for awarding multi-million-pound oil and gas contracts.
2023 – In December 2023, Alison-Madueke, who is reportedly in the second stage of cancer implored Tinubu to permit her to return to Nigeria to confess to her financial misconduct during her tenure.
2023 – In October 2023, The PUNCH exclusively reported that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, submitted a warrant of arrest and request to the Crown Prosecution Services of the United Kingdom for her extradition.
2023 – In December 2023, the EFCC deleted a controversial Instagram post quoting the embattled ex-minister speaking on money laundering charges brought against her. The social media post claimed that the former minister spoke in an interview with journalists in the United Kingdom where she allegedly begged President Tinubu to allow her to return to Nigeria amid corruption charges.
However, the antigraft body pulled down the post from its official Instagram handle and when contacted over the development, denied the report.
“The report is not from the EFCC. Anything that is not signed by me is not from us (the EFCC),” EFCC spokesman, Dele Oyewale.