Diezani wanted in Nigeria for ‘massive corruption’ laments ‘Yahoo Boys now role models’

Diezani Alison-Madueke

Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has lamented disintegration in the country’s societal values.

According to her the value-system has been brought so low now that online fraudsters, popularly known as “Yahoo boys,” have become role models in the Nigerian society.

Diezani said this on Friday, while delivering a virtual lecture, which was also attended by former President Goodluck Jonathan, her former boss, under whom she served as a minister.

At the event organised by the Ijaw National Development Group, Diezani, however, advocated the need for mentorship of Ijaw youths.

In the videos of the lecture posted on Twitter by Jackson Ude, a blogger, who is also the publisher of Point Blank News, Diezani said: “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.

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“This is a travesty of an unfolding tragedy for us. Why have I spent time talking about fatherless homes and the impact they have 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.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had declared Diezani, who is out of Nigeria wanted to answer charges in multiple counts of corruption and embezzlement cases traced to her as a public officer.

The court had earlier ordered that Diezani should surrender herself for trial, but she had since taken cover abroad, evading court appearances in Nigeria.

She is currently held up in the UK where she is also being investigated for money laundering.

Diezani, though spoke about how internet crimes and Yahoo boys, had affected the societal values negatively, she, however, didn’t speak on the use of privileged official position to accrue dishonest gains, such type the EFCC had accused her of in multiple counts of financial corruption and embezzlement, and how this affects the societal values.

The EFCC had alleged the former minister of committing offences bordering on abuse of office, bribery and money laundering between 2011 and 2015, while in office, and while she stayed out of the country, some of the beneficiaries of the corrupt act have been convicted in Nigeria.

In the build-up of the 2015 presidential election, Diezani 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 (INEC), 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, Diezani 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.