The Nigerian presidency has confirmed the arrest of a former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in London, over allegations of corruption and money laundering.
According to PREMIUM TIMES, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, said: “The government is aware of the arrest and all the government investigative agencies are working very closely with the British law enforcement.”
“Nigerian authorities are saying for the first time that matters are being handled with seriousness and deep commitment. Nobody wants to give the impression that this government is frivolous and unserious.
“For this reason, government is only confirming active collaboration. Beyond this, we are not saying more. In due course, Nigerians will be briefed on updates as appropriate.”
Asked about the identities of the other four people arrested with the former minister, Mr. Shehu declined comments, saying, “as I said no one is willing to provide further details at this point”.
The presidential confirmation came two days after Mrs. Alison-Madueke was arrested and granted bail by the UK National Crime Agency over allegations of corruption and money laundering.
PREMIUM TIMES had on Friday exclusively reported the arrest of the former minister, alongside four others.
The identities of the four other people arrested along with Mrs. Alison-Madueke, could not be immediately ascertained.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke, one of the most influential officials of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, was first appointed into the federal cabinet in 2007.
A former board member of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, she was later appointed Minister of Transport by former President Umaru Yar’adua.
In December 2008, she was redeployed to the mines and steel development ministry.
After former Vice President Goodluck Jonathan became acting president, Mrs. Alison-Madueke was appointed Nigeria’s first female petroleum minister in February 2010, a position Mrs. Alison-Madueke held till May 29, 2015 when Mr. Jonathan left office.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s tenure as petroleum minister turned out one of Nigeria’s most controversial, amid unending allegations of massive corruption.