Diezani K. Alison-Madueke (born 6 December 1960) is a Nigerian politician and the first female President of OPEC. She was elected at the 166th OPEC Ordinary meeting in Vienna on 27 November 2014. She became Nigeria’s minister of transportation on 26 July 2007. She was moved to Mines and Steel Development in 2008, and in April 2010 was appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources.
Diezani K. Agama was born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. Her father was Chief Frederick Abiye Agama. She studied Architecture in England and then at Howard University in the United States. She graduated from Howard with a bachelor’s degree on 8 December 1992. She returned to Nigeria and joined Shell Petroleum Development Corporation that year. In 2002, she attended Cambridge University for her MBA degree. In April 2006, Shell appointed her its first female Executive Director in Nigeria.
Since 1999 she has been married to Admiral Allison Madueke (retired), one-time Chief of Naval Staff who was at various times governor of Imo and Anambra State. She has two sons, Chimezie Madueke and Ugonna Madueke. In September 2011 Alison-Madueke was awarded an honorary Doctorate degree in Management Sciences by the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna.
In September 2008 there was an unsuccessful attempt to kidnap Alison-Madueke at her house in Abuja with her son Chimezie Madueke.
Federal cabinet positions
Diezani Alison-Madueke has held three significant positions in the Nigerian federal government. She was appointed Transport Minister in July 2007….. On 23 December 2008, she was named as Minister of Mines and Steel Development.
After Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan became acting President in February 2010, he dissolved the cabinet on 17 March 2010, and swore in a new cabinet on 6 April 2010 with Alison-Madueke as Minister for Petroleum Resources.
Minister of Petroleum Resources
As Minister of Petroleum Resources, Alison-Madueke pledged to transform Nigeria’s oil and gas industry so that all Nigerians benefit.
In April 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan signed the Nigerian Content Act, which aimed to increase the percentage of petroleum industry contracts awarded to indigenous Nigerian businesses – a reaction to the domination of the sector by foreign operators.
One of the most controversial policies introduced under Alison-Madueke was the government’s plan to remove state subsidies on fuel prices. Alison-Madueke supported the discontinuation of the subsidy “because it poses a huge financial burden on the government, disproportionately benefits the wealthy, [and]encourages inefficiency, corruption and diversion of scarce public resources away from investment in critical infrastructure.”
Alison-Madueke was the first woman to hold the position of Minister of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria, and in October 2010 she became the first woman to head a country delegation at the semi-annual OPEC conference. She was also the first female Minister of Transportation, and the first woman to be appointed to the board of Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria. On 27 November 2014, she was elected as the first female President of OPEC.
On working in male-dominated sectors, Alison-Madueke said she warned the young women she mentored while at Shell to “change their mode of thinking.”
A PBS NewsHour segment quoted American and British officials saying that former Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke might personally have organized a diversion of $6 billion (N1.2 trillion) from the Nigerian treasury. She was arrested in London on 2 October 2015.
She has been charged with responsibility for $20 billion missing from the Petroleum agency. A former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Sanusi, made the comment again during a PBS interview on 2 December 2015. Sanusi believes he was fired from the Central Bank of Nigeria because he went public with charges that $2 billion was missing from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under Alison-Madueke’s management. Alison Madueke says Sanusi made the allegations to retaliate after she didn’t help him to get appointed as the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and dismissed his allegation.
She’s been accused of awarding multi-billion Naira contracts without recourse to due process and of recklessly spending government funds. as well as wasting billions of Nigerian dollars inappropriately on private jets.
In October 2009, the Senate of Nigeria indicted Diezani Alison-Madueke and recommended prosecution for the transfer of 1.2 billion naira into the private account of a toll company without due process and in breach of concession agreement.
However, she was not officially charged or tried for these allegations and has strongly denied any wrongdoing.
2015 London arrest
On 2 October 2015, Reuters reported that Alison-Madueke had been arrested by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) along with four other people on suspicion of bribery and corruption offences. However, a spokesperson for the police denied having any knowledge of the incident. Her family and the Nigerian Government confirmed that she had been arrested in London, although the NCA declined to comment on the case.
Also in Nigeria, her home in Asokoro, Abuja was raided and sealed by anti-corruption agents of the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, a few hours after her alleged arrest in London.
Alison-Madueke revealed that while in office, she had been undergoing treatments for breast cancer in the United Kingdom.