Former minister of Petroleum Diezani Alison-Madueke has remained silent regardless of the allegations made against her, but she has finally come out to speak up and defend herself.

She refuted all claims and allegations circulating in the media particularly  regarding the forfeiture of $153.3 million dollars to EFCC, she said: “I wish to state that I cannot forfeit what was never mine. I do not know the basis on which the EFCC have chosen to say that I am the owner of the funds as no evidence was provided to me before the order was obtained and they have not in fact served me with the order or, any evidence since they obtained it.”

She stated that the most disturbing piece of allegation is that she was indicted by the Italian police for “Sharing in the loot” of the $1.3bn OPL 245 oil block deal, involving Malabu and the Joint Venture Multinational partners, ENI (AGIP) and Royal Dutch Shell. According to Diezani “this is another figment of the author’s imagination, which given the persistent bid to ensure my destruction and stick all of the sins of the corruption plagued oil and gas sector of over the last 30 years upon my head!”

Diezani also spoke of the shocker she received after pre-agreed visit by the EFCC to her family home in Yenegoa (Bayelsa State) on the 9th of November, 2016. She stated that the officials were escorted around the entire premises. Diezani claims nothing was hidden or concealed as she “had declared openly as required by law in my asset declaration forms (Annex-4A). Yet the EFCC have announced that they “just discovered” my hidden estate “and labeled it a “Multi-Billion Naira Estate”! Even though they had been given the Bill of Quantities, showing actual amount spent”.

The former minister also spoke about the report by Aljazeera which accused her of owning an $18million dollar mansion allegedly discovered in Asokoro, Abuja. Diezani vehemently denied the allegations that she owns the mansion. The former minister further stated that since EFCC also made these allegation against her they should kindly produce the “Authentic” Certificate of ownership and other necessary documentation that proves she owns the mansion.

In regards to the $700 million cash which was allegedly found in the Abuja home of Diezani and the videos recorded, she challenged those who claim to have recovered the money from her home to state where it is being kept today.  “Perhaps the Central Bank should corroborate that it is in the custody of these monies allegedly found in my house”.

She reminded Nigerians that during her tenure as Petroleum Minister we rarely suffered the issue of fuel scarcity. She also spoke of the the $5.6 billion she left behind for the incoming administration, “I did this to ensure the continuity in the crucial gas sector development which underpins the entire Power and Energy Sector and which was, and still is, absolutely imperative for the country’s current and future economic development.”

Finally, she expressed sadness over the allegations made against her, “It is saddening that after eight years of serving my country, my experience as a public servant has been fraught with continuous malicious castigation and character assassination all in the name of personal vendettas or political horse trading. One error that can never be ascribed to me is STEALING FROM NIGERIA AND DEFRAUDING MY COUNTRY! It is therefore, sad and distressing that in spite of all that I tried to do in the best interest of our Nation, I continue to be faced with constant demonization, unproven accusation and deeply personal insults.”

Diezani K. Alison-Madueke (born 6 December 1960) is a Nigerian politician and the first female President of OPEC. She was elected at the 166th OPEC Ordinary meeting in Vienna on 27 November 2014. She became Nigeria’s minister of transportation on 26 July 2007. She was moved to Mines and Steel Development in 2008, and in April 2010 was appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources. Her tenure ended in 2015 when the incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan, lost his re-election bid.