Barely two months to the inauguration of a new government, the fear of the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari is already driving corrupt officials who wield enormous power under the out-going Goodluck Jonathan administration, out of the country. Buhari has declared that the fight against corruption will be a major drive of his in-coming administration.
It was gathered that following her failure to get President Jonathan and ex-Head of state, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar secure a soft landing deal for her from Gen Buhari last weekend, controversial Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison Madueke has fled the country to the United Kingdom, from where she might escape to a safe haven.
It was gathered that Diezani who has a plethora of corruption allegations against her left the country through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Monday aboard a British Airways flight. A reliable source in the presidential villa disclosed that “madam had to take off far ahead of the inauguration of the government of Gen Buhari because she is scared he may turn his searchlight on the oil sector.” Ironically, the minister who is widely known to travel around in private jets had to travel this time in the first class cabin of the British Airways flight.
When contacted to confirm the Minister’s whereabout, one of her aides who pleaded for anonymity confirmed Mrs Alison-Madueke indeed left the country on Monday morning but gave a different reason for the trip. According to the minister’s aide “it is true the Hon. Minister traveled but she went to take care of her health because she has been down medically and she needs proper medical attention.”
On when the Minister will be back in the country, the aide said “no one can say when she will be back. That depends on her health and the advice of her doctors. She may come before May 29, she may decide to stay back with her children over there till anytime to take care of herself.”
It was, however, learnt that the once powerful woman feigned sickness and actually pretended to be seriously sick while going through immigration at the airport departure lounge over fears that she might be stopped from fleeing the country.
Nigerians are waiting to see Mrs Alison-Madueke account for the $20 billion former CBN governor and now Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has continued to insist was diverted from the federation account by the Minister and her cronies in NNPC.
Apart from this, a group of whistleblowers against corruption has accused Diezani Alison-Madueke, of squandering millions of dollars of public funds to rent private jets for the conduct of her official activities. In a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the group, known as Crusader for Good Governance, demanded that Ms. Allison-Madueke be investigated for her habit of spending extravagant sums to rent private jets for her official hops.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke has frequently traveled around the world in private jets since becoming a minister, first under the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and later under President Goodluck Jonathan. In addition, she often moves members of her family in private jets.
In 2010, President Jonathan appointed Mrs. Alison-Madueke to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the nerve center of the Nigerian economy and traditionally the vortex of corruption in a country that is widely regarded as one of the most corrupt in the world.