USAfrica: Arrest of Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Diezani exposes its moral, embezzlement and money laundering crises.


Arrest of Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Diezani exposes its moral, embezzlement and money laundering crises.

By Elsie-Bernadette Onubogu, an International Consultant, former Senior Policy Adviser with the United Nations and contributing editor of

Special to,  and USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston. Follow USAfrica at , and

USAfrica, October 7: The topical story surrounding the arrest of Diezani Allison-Madueke – Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum, opens yet another passage in the fight against looting, misappropriation of public funds, bribery, embezzlement, money laundering, tax evasion and the big ‘C’ – corruption.

Prior to the arrest of Diezani Allison-Madueke on 02 October 2015 in London by agents of the International Corruption Unit of Unit’ ed Kingdom’s {UK} National Crime Agency {NCA}, there had been speculation that the former Petroleum Minister’s tenure (2010-2015) was the most corrupt in Nigeria’s fifty-five year history.  So corrupt was her tenure as the Minister of Petroleum that, both Abacha’s loot and perhaps, Zaire’s Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Bang’s corruption record, seems to pale in comparison.

Newsworthy chronicles and information reveal that Dieziani and her cronies with over ten registered companies embezzled billions of dollars through oil subsidy payments meant for the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

At 55, Nigeria is at the crossroads of a moral crisis with the pulse of its thermostat rising to the level of an inferno.  

As Dante concluded in the third canto of his ‘Inferno’, “The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who, at a time of moral crisis remain neutral”.

Therefore, I plead to write ‘without reticence, but with complete frankness’.  

It is time Nigeria and Nigerians as well as the International community recognize that, it is a humanitarian issue if public officials loot their ‘Nations’ treasuries while their populace die from lack of unembellished necessities.  

Sadly, the challenge in tackling corruption in Nigeria before now, has not recorded any ‘national villains’ as it ought to.  This is particularly so because, Nigerians in the last five decades have preferred to append ‘euphemistic gloss’ to stealing.  

For instance, not too long ago, it was reported that former President Goodluck Jonathan said, ‘stealing is not corruption’.

As a result, these ‘rogues’ have always ended up heroes of their ethnic groups and those who benefit/ted from their loot including their descendants and sycophants. In some cases, such progenies ‘morph’ and ‘mutate’ into social critics and activists extraordinaire!  In one oil deal {the notorious Malabu Oil Deal – OPL 245, involving former Petroleum Minister Dan Etete}, it is alleged that the former Attorney General, Mohammed Adoke, former President Goodluck Jonathan and Dieziani Allison-Madueke appropriated close to $2billion between them.  

Subsequently, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s (the current Emir of Kano – former Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank) outcry for missing $20 billion, for which he Sanusi was fired, may find vindication at last.  

Regrettably, considering the five years Diezani served as Minister of Petroleum, as well as the sweeping powers arrogated to her office and that of the former President Goodluck Jonathan through the Petroleum Industry Bill, Nigerians might be in for the long haul with never-ending romance with corruption and her exploits in this regard.

This arrest therefore, presents a watershed opportunity to blunt the ‘barefaced barricades of corruption’ in Nigeria.  Consequently, President Muhammad Buhari’s (PMB) government supported by every well-meaning Nigerian and the international community must seize this moment of opportunity.

It must not be a ‘missed opportunity’.   Failure is not an option, and mere rhetoric will not cut it this time.  

Nigeria under the leadership of PMB in synergy with the United Kingdom (and others) must get this right.  To reengineer Nigeria on the right path to sustainable development and good governance, these barefaced barricades of corruption must be dismantled.  

Otherwise, this will be another ‘price of universalist pretensions’, which Samuel Huntington classifies as the ‘hypocritical double standards & but nots’.

Cases of deprivation of bare necessities through misappropriation, bribery and corruption like the present case should be considered under the evolving ‘Humanitarian Law’, and the international community has an indispensable role to play.  

After all, as Samuel Huntington noted, “the prevalence of foreign business in a country in particular, tends to promote corruption both because the foreigners have less scruples in violating the norms of the society and because their control of important avenues to economic wellbeing, forces potential native entrepreneurs to attempt to make their fortunes through politics“.

The United Kingdom as part of the international community, and in direct response to the ‘sorry’ state of Nigeria, through the NCA has committed to ensure that such stolen public funds, laundered monies will find no place in their domain either as investments in property, bank accounts, businesses, etc., hence the investigation and arrest of Dieziani Allison-Madueke.  

Utter deprivation, mismanagement and corruption have been the case of contemporary Nigeria for nearly five decades. Such dastardly acts go against the diktats of decency, accountability, dignity and humanity.  


Sadly, as mentioned earlier, past leaders and regimes in Nigeria have shamelessly looted public funds, misused public office, and in other despicable situation, publicly celebrated those found guilty of embezzlement and corruption.  

Little wonder then why former President Goodluck Jonathan adopted the view that ‘stealing {public funds} is not corruption’.

As aforementioned, these ‘rogues’ in the past, very often, ended up heroes of their ethnic groups.  In some cases, their beneficiaries, sycophants including their progenies ‘morph’ and ‘mutate’ into avowed social critics and activists.   

To digress, there is nothing wrong with mutation especially if it is done with true contrite heart. This should include, acknowledging the source of ill-gotten wealth, returning such stolen funds, and not playing sacrosanct or attempting to distort history.  

Diezani’s case must open the ‘Pandora’ box on corruption, continue the trail, and blunt all barricades to stolen public funds in, and from Nigeria, and follow its trail for recovery without restraint.

The point that there is no statute of limitation for corruption was reaffirmed by Emile Van Der Does de Willebois, a Senior Financial Specialist with the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) in his summation over the recovery of $225 million dollars in the matter of Liechtenstein v Nigeria.    

As part of the exposé on ‘falsification, bribery and corruption by public officials’, and the attempt to excuse such ignobility with the passage of time by the Nigerian Senate President, a reminder to Nigerian public officials was issued. There is no honor in defrauding the people who elected them to service.  Neither would it be less dishonorable if such reprehensible acts were discovered 100 years later.  This was in response to the Nigeria’s Senate President’s expectation that the Nigerian people ought to condemn his arraignment before the Code of Conduct Tribunal {CCT} — as twelve years had lapsed since the alleged falsification.

Contrary to arguments from apologists, the diktats of time, years, nepotism, etc., should not serve as restriction to follow and recover ill-gotten wealth from persons adjudged guilty, their agents, and descendants including future generations where possible.    

It is time to blunt all ‘barefaced barricades’ of corruption.   The ‘collective mood’ of persons with a conscience for Nigeria’s current pathetic state, who demand change and progress, is for PMB and his team to ride on the ‘audacity of hope’ presented by Nigerians when he was elected into office, and restore decency to Nigeria.  

In the final analysis, all cases of falsification, bribery, tax evasion, stealing and/or corruption, goes to the root and alcoves of honor, and, honor has no limitation.  Nigeria and the international community must do everything within its power including running through imaginable and unimaginable alcoves to restore the honor and dignity pledged to all citizens by recovering stolen funds and assets. Nigeria and the international community can no longer play the ‘universalist pretensions’.  
Nigeria is at the intersection of a make or break moral crisis.  History will not extend its arm of mercy, kindness or compassion on us if we fail.



Boko Haram: SkyNews London interview wt USAfrica Publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu on BOKO HARAM vs BUHARI (Nigeria’s President inaugurated May 29, 2015). Interview on May 30 (Houston) May 31 (London) 2015


VIDEO #CNN special #CHIBOK Girls n #BokoHaram Live intvw wt the Founder of USAfrica multimedia and public POLICY networks Chido Nwangwu. CNN anchors John Berman n Michaela Pereira.  

Mandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrs and friendship HOLD lessons for humanity and Africans, USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and CONSEQUENCE to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”
He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being CLOSE to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown UNIVERSITY in Providence, Rhode Island.“I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that HISTORIC Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief EXECUTIVE of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when PRESIDENT BILL Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and CAME to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes  Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia 
specialist and founder of, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela.

  Dr. Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (GOVERNANCESECURITY, and PEACE in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown UNIVERSITY in Rhode Island and former ADVISER on Africa business/issues to the Mayor of Houston, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET; CLASSmagazine,, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of AfricanChristians, Nigeria360 and the largest pictorial events megasite on the African diaspora www.PhotoWorks.TV . He was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans.   E-MAIL:


#BreakingNews and special reports unit of USAfrica multimedia networks, and USAfricaTV

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1 Comment

  1. It is a known facts that corruption has eaten deeply into the veins of Nigerian political leaders and top government functionaries, undermining the fact that I do not like the slow and parochial leadership style of president Buhari but I will encourage him in his fight against corruption consequently if Deziani Alison Madueke is truly involved in looting Nigerian's fund and economic resources I pray the law to catch up with her and all others that put Nigeria in this devastating economic situation


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