A former Nigerian minister who is wanted for multiple counts of corruption and embezzlement has lamented the decay in societal values among Nigerians and the glorification of internet Fraudsters.
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, wanted by the EFCC for massive corruption.
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Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former petroleum minister, who is held up in the UK where she is also being investigated for money laundering, was a guest speaker at a virtual event on Friday.
Video clips of the event organised by the Ijaw National Development Group, were posted by Jackson Ude, an aide to a former president, Goodluck Jonathan.
Mrs Alison-Madueke lamented that Nigerian youth were looking up to internet fraudsters, popularly called Yahoo Yahoo.
“The ones that have swag, the Yahoo Yahoo boys as my son would say; these in short, are the role models they are looking at. These are the ones that reinforce negative societal norms and values.”
“This is a travesty of an unfolding tragedy for us. Why have I spent time talking about fatherless homes and the impact it has on our children? The truth of the matter is that an irresponsible boy tends to become an irresponsible man and it is therefore a vicious cycle. If you plant yam, you cannot harvest plantain,” she told the audience.
Diezani’s corruption scandals
In the posted video, Mrs Alison-Madueke did not speak on corruption in public office and how that affects societal values.
The former minister is alleged to have committed offences bordering on abuse of office, bribery and money laundering between 2011 and 2015, while in office.
Some of the beneficiaries of the corrupt act have been convicted in Nigeria.
In the build-up of the 2015 presidential election, Mrs Alison-Madueke allegedly stashed about $115 million in a bank with subsequent instruction to distribute it among mainly electoral officials in the 36 states of the federation. The motive was to rig the election in favour of Mr Jonathan, who eventually lost to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Two of the beneficiaries of the largesse, a Deputy Director of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Auwal Jibrin, and one Garba Ismaila, have been tried and were sentenced to six years imprisonment in 2019. Many others are still being prosecuted.
In an attempt to apparently evade justice, Mrs Alison-Madueke bolted to the United Kingdom on medical grounds in 2015 but was held in London alongside four others. She is being investigated for money laundering in the UK.
However, in her absence, she has forfeited properties and jewellery worth billions of naira to the Nigerian government.
Many Nigerians have mounted pressure on the federal government to demand Mrs Alison-Madueke’s extradition back to the country to face trial.
The suspended acting chairman of the anti-graft agency, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, repeatedly called on UK authorities to extradite her to Nigeria to face trial.
Recently, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered her to appear in October and answer to the money laundering charge filed against her by the EFCC.
While delivering the lecture on Friday, Mrs Alison-Madueke advised women to rise above stereotypes, giving their best to whatever they do.
“I want to stress that no woman is helpless not to talk of our hard-working Ijaw women who are multi-dimensional in every sense of the word regarding economic empowerment for women. The United Nations has posited that when more women work economies grew women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity. It increases economic diversification and income equality in addition to other positive development outcomes.”
According to her, women’s economic equality is good for business, and studies have shown that companies have greatly benefitted from increasing employment and leadership opportunities for women.
“Politics is another area in which women are proven to excel. It is quite striking for me that a study I found which was done in India and published by The Brookings Institute on women legislators and economic performance. The study concluded that women legislators are more effective relative to men and produce economic growth in less developed countries.”
She added that the former president, Mr Jonathan, achieved nearly 40 per cent of women to men in his cabinet.
“While we look forward to seeing this sort of gracious again in the not-too-distant future as women, we need to prepare ourselves at every level for entry into the political sphere. Let’s all start with the Grassroots the Grassroots level and find platforms for each other women to get their voices heard and to contribute actively to the political discourse in our land,” Mrs Alison-Madueke said.