EMBATTLED Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke has appealed for prayers from Nigerians over the multi-million-pound bribery and corruption allegations brought against her by the United Kingdom National Crime Agency (NCA).
The United Kingdom NCA had accused her of accepting bribes in the form of cash, luxury items, private jet flights, and the use of upscale properties in the UK in exchange for the awarding of oil contracts.
These alleged acts occurred during her tenure in former President Goodluck Jonathan‘s administration between 2010 and 2015.
Following a hearing in the fifth-floor courtroom, Diezani was reported to have expressed, “I need prayers. Please, pray for me,” while engaging with members of the Nigerian community in the UK.
A top lawyer who flew from Nigeria to represent his client, Benedict Peters said after the hearing that “the case is weak, and won’t fly.”
Speaking to journalists in front of the court, Emeka Ozoani (SAN) argued that “they, NCA, have spent five to six years investigating the case and are trying to justify what they’ve done with taxpayers’ money.
“l came to represent one of those linked to the case.”
Asked if he flew from Nigeria just for the hearing. He replied: “Yes. I came because of my client.”
Alison-Madueke is on trial for allegedly accepting a £100,000 bribe from some oil companies, Naija News reports.
On 2 October, Michael Snow, the district judge at the Westminster Magistrates Court in the United Kingdom, granted Alison-Madueke bail in the amount of £70,000 after judging her “a flight risk.”
Before she was granted bail, Snow had put harsh conditions on Alison-Madueke, including an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and the wearing of an electronic tag at all times.
Alison-Madueke and four other people were detained in the United Kingdom in October 2015 on suspicion of bribery and money laundering.
The NCA stated in August 2023 that they suspected Alison-Madueke of accepting bribes in exchange for awarding multi-million-pound oil and gas contracts.
Speaking via its website, the NCA said, “is alleged to have benefited from at least £100,000 in cash, chauffeur-driven cars, private jet flights, luxury vacations for her family, and the use of multiple London properties.