The last time anyone from Nigeria heard of or saw Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Resources, she was wearing a bald pate while reportedly treating breast cancer, thanks to a photograph and interview by Publisher of Ovation magazine and Boss newspaper, Dele Momodu.
An embattled Diezani left Nigeria for the United Kingdom soon after former President Goodluck Jonathan lost the election to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
She hasn’t set foot on Nigerian soil since then.
In that span, a slew of corruption charges have been filed against Diezani at home and abroad.
However, a Nigerian man resident in London has shared recent photos of Diezani with his Twitter audience.
In the photos, Diezani who is draped in a winter jacket, can be seen taking a leisurely walk on the sidewalk.
“Guess who I just saw in NW, London? Diezani Alison Madueke. When she noticed I wanted to snap her, she quickly moved very fast away from me. I was gonna come down to ask her about our yams, but the traffic was moving”, wrote @Osquare78 on his Twitter page.
Diezani, it is believed, now resides in a flat marooned in the same building that was seized from her by UK authorities.
In 2017, The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) seized three London properties linked to the former minister on the suspicion that they were proceeds of crime.
The properties, two in Regents Park and one in Buckinghamshire, were frozen under the Proceeds of Crime Act, an order that was handed down by a London court in September 2016.
Diezani says she never stole Nigeria’s money
Diezani has been accused of money laundering and corruption on a grand scale, acts allegedly perpetrated during her stint as Jonathan’s minister.
She allegedly used two of her cronies–Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Ltd and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd respectively—to carry out dubious oil swap contracts.
Anti-graft agencies say Diezani concealed her illicit wealth in banks at home and abroad and purchased choice real estate, penthouses and luxury furniture across the world for effect.
In 2017, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) claimed that Diezani forfeited the sum of $153.3 million to the federal government. She would later deny that she did.
“Let me re-state categorically as I have always maintained, for the record, I have not and will never steal money from or defraud the Federal Government of Nigeria. I am willing to respond to charges brought against me that follow duly laid down procedures,” Diezani had said.
She had described herself as “a woman from the Niger Delta, who, through perseverance and sheer hard work rose to one of the highest positions in the country’s premier International Oil Company, and in tune with my ethos of hard work, I earned the prestigious British Foreign and Commonwealth Chevening Scholarship Award and was, thereafter, admitted to my MBA programme at the World renowned Cambridge University”.
Several property in Dubai, Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt have been traced to Diezani and the former minister is currently under investigation by the UK’s NCA and Nigeria’s EFCC.
The EFCC has also been trying to bring Diezani back home to face trial.