IZON community organisation Ijaw Women Connect (IWC) has thrown its weight behind embattled former petroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke saying it will not stand by and allow her to be misquoted and vilified by the press.
Oil minister during the tenure of former president Dr Goodluck Jonathan, Ms Alison-Madueke has been the subject of a series of corruption probes, with the federal high court in Nigeria confiscating some of her assets and handing them over to the government. Under investigation both in Nigeria and the UK, Ms Alison-Madueke, who was in office between 2011 and 2015, has been accused of participating in largescale corruption, including using her position to allocate lucrative oil wells to close associates worth billions of dollars.
Since leaving office, Ms Alison-Madueke has taken refuge in the UK, where she was arrested and granted bail pending the filing of formal charges against her. Ms Alison-Madueke has been asked to forfeit UK properties worth over £11m and been forced to forfeit about N7.6bn hidden in a Nigerian bank to the government, amid claims that she cannot account for a sum of $2.5bn that went missing under her watch as minister.
Of late, she has been in the news again after speaking at IWC’s inaugural conference on Friday August 7 where she condemned the glorification and glamorisation of online fraudsters known as Yahoo Boys across Nigeria. Her comments attracted widespread condemnation, with Mrs Alison-Madueke being dubbed a hypocrite who had no moral right to attack other fraudsters.
IWC president Rosemary John-Oduone, said Ms Allison-Madueke’s highly emotional talk, using global statistics and examples of how young men, without the guidance and strong support of a father-figure, many times end up with wrong morals and fall into tragic circumstances in life, was neither on, or about, Yahoo boys. She added that the event was by the Ijaw people, for the Ijaw people, to address Ijaw issues and was by no means a platform for national discourse.
Ms John-Oduone said: “The attention of the Ijaw Women Connect has been drawn to the several articles and coverage of our beloved and dear sister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke’s presentation at the inaugural global virtual conference of the Ijaw Women Connect, in partnership with the Ijaw Nation Development Group on Friday 7th August 2020. We hereby wish to state clearly that we will not stand by and watch as she is being misquoted and vilified in the eyes of the press as a result of her speech, which was frank, audacious and topical, addressing the decay of fatherhood in Ijawland.
“We shall never allow the press or indeed any organisation to victimize any Ijaw woman especially our sister who we coaxed out of solitude to demonstrate the character and strength of the Ijaw woman at the conference. Her presentation compassionately called for Ijaw women to take their place in contributing to Ijaw nation development from a point of view of self-reliance and self development.
She noted that guests at the event including former president Dr Goodluck Jonathan as chairman, as well as Chief Edwin Clark as keynote speaker. Ms John-Oduone said Mrs Allison-Madueke was the first and still the only woman to have become president of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Country and also the first and only female president of the ministerial meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.