Why Mike Adenuga is Africa’s Hidden Treasure
By Eric Elezuo
In the entire continent of Africa, Dr Mike Adenuga iis in a class of his own-and therefore, it is inconceivable to actually put him in the same sentence or list as any of the others. He is without any shadow of doubt, Africa’s hidden treasure.
The reason is simple: Unlike the others whose worth can be calculated via their listed companies and assets, Adenuga’s intimidating wealth is usually in the realm of speculations, they are mostly privately-owned- which is reason he is usually given any position that meets the fancy of the publications.
Adenuga who hit it big by a dint of hard work and God’s grace is by far the numero uno billionaire on the continent.
Now take out your calculators and start to crunch the numbers: He wholly owns Globacom, a telecommunications network and infrastructure (with operations cross sub Saharan Africa), juicy oil wells, has huge investments in banking, construction and an humongous real estate portfolio.
The serial investor who is simply called The Guru and who signs his name as MA Jnr will hit 70 on April 29, 2022 and The Boss is raising a toast to this giant, this remarkable spirit of Africa that has dared to thread where others dread, and has impacted the African continent with his entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit.
His passion from giving is not only personal, the culture has also been imbibed by his companies like Globacom.
In the last year, the company dished out goodies most industrialists and multinationals dare not try. It gave out a total of 20 completed and furnished houses, 24 brand new cars, 100 generators, 200 sewing machines and 1,000 rechargeable fans among many other mouth-watering prizes in its 2022 Festival of Joy. Needless to say that many homes were infected with untold joy as landlords emerged from nowhere, just as people became car owners overnight. That is the stuff Adenuga is made of. His preoccupation certainly is discovering new ways to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians.
Before Globacom, Adenuga whom many also call Chairman was one of Nigeria’s silent billionaires. He was known but never seen, and still hardly seen. His Consolidated Oil was achieving remarkable feats in the oil and gas industry without any fanfare.
Then came Glo, and he became one of the most recognizable Nigerians alive. The reason was because Globacom, the first and only telecommunications brand wholly owned by a Nigerian, became a mega success in a very short space of time. The company became Africa’s treasure, and lifted Africans from the doldrum of exorbitant call cost. He made it easy for Africans to own phone lines within a short period of the GSM revolution, especially in the West African sub-region.
Glo introduced innovative products and delivered first-rate service and before long, Adenuga had taken this winning formula to other African Countries-Republic of Benin, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire.
It also became the first indigenous company to lay an international submarine cable, Glo 1, which has gigantic capacity to link Africa directly to Europe and America. The optic fibre cable provides excess bandwidth to all the cities connected to the cable, and has led to a much faster and robust connectivity for voice, data and video.
Adenuga has over the years learnt to mold his companies into major, if not dominant, players. In the oil and gas sector, Conoil Plc is one of the largest and most profitable oil marketing companies in Nigeria. Conoil Producing, the downstream arm of the conglomerate, made history by becoming the first Nigerian company to strike oil and produce it in commercial quantity in 1991. This is his only company that is publicly-quoted.
With his fortunes in oil and gas, real estate and the cash cow of telecommunications, it is doubtful if any Nigerian has his raw cash. It is difficult to access his earning but the fact The bullish bull has been on the Billionaires List for decades is evidence that despite the difficulty in assessing his worth, he is a goldfish that has no hiding place..
The taciturn man of vision, who has been described as an angel of mercy for his philanthropy and immense propensity to give ceaselessly, in his characteristic disposition, may not be throwing a huge party, when he hits three scores and ten but in the homes of many who have felt him, there will be abundant prayers and celebration.
He is a quintessential leader who has the uncanny ability to spot and nurture talents. Reputed to be very hands on in the operations of his businesses, Dr. Adenuga, whose daughter, the cerebral Mrs. Bella Disu is the Executive Vice Chairman, Globacom, still gets briefs on the day-to-day running of his business empire.
Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr ‘s contribution to the business world has not only been recognised locally, but he has also attained international acclaim.
In Nigeria, he holds the highest civilian honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), an honour reserved for mostly vice presidents, and in Ghana, he was awarded the highest civilian honour of Companion of the Star of Ghana (CSG).
According to President John Mahama who conferred the indefatigable businessman with the honour at a state ceremony ”You have touched many lives in Ghana. You have provided employment for our teeming youths, artists, footballers and many more. I am particularly proud of you. This award is our way of a saying a simply thank you.”
The entrepreneur extraordinaire was also honoured with the award of Chavalier de la Legion d Honnuer, the highest National honour of France which was bestowed on him by French President, Emmanuel Macron. He has also been privileged to host the French president at the Mike Adenuga Centre, Alliance Francaise. In fact Macron unveiled the edifice in 2019.
Explaining why the French Government decided to confer the honour on Adenuga, President Macron who described the consumate businessman as a true model of Africa noted that he had contributed immensely to the African and French Economy.
Adenuga, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, received the singular accolade of being the first to donate N1.5 billion to fight the dreaded coronavirus scourge. He set the stage for other Nigerians to contribute to the management of the scourge. That is typical of the Guru, he leads, others follow.
It is not hard to imagine that Adenuga is the richest man in Nigeria, and indeed Africa, and of course when one quantifies wealth in terms of liquidity, and not stocks. He is unmatchable.
It is in order therefore to salute the remarkable business guru, the worthy son of Africa!
Lending his voice to Adenuga invincibility, and the fact that he stands tall above others irrespective of his number in the list of richest men, Ololade Olaoye wrote that “The ratings are usually based on stock market figures and performances. Unknown to many, this often has its limitations.
“In Africa for example, Stock Exchanges are not as vibrant and accurate as in other climes. It is laughable whenever the African ratings accord low figures to someone in the uncommon league of Dr Mike Adenuga Jr., a man who’s practically the wealthiest and most cash-liquid man in Africa.”
He further noted as follows:
“Dr. Adenuga was the first Nigerian to discover oil in Commercial quantity, since 1991, over 30 years ago. Today, he owns about ten oil wells and Conoil, his only publicly quoted company, operates both upstream and downstream, with humongous gas deposits. There are not many such operators in Africa. Most of those individuals with huge investments in the oil sector have since packed up. Adenuga’s tenacity is remarkable and salutary.
“In telecoms, Glo remains a formidably popular and dominant player, fully owned by one man, Dr Adenuga, who makes money every second. His uncommon investments in submarine cables from Europe to Africa gave the Glo network the “speed of life!” as well as the status of the market leader in the highly profitable business of internet.
“Glo is always grossly undervalued when the ratings are announced. For obvious reasons, as not doing so wouldn’t align with the agenda of those desperate to make the man look small.
“In banking, Adenuga owned Devcom Merchant Bank and Equitorial Trust Bank which was acquired by Sterling Bank Plc. Adenuga currently owns substantial stakes in both Sterling Bank and First Bank of Nigeria.
“In Real Estate, Dr. Adenuga’s property portfolio at home and abroad is second to none. His properties dot many city capitals in Nigeria and beyond.
“Not too long ago, he acquired significant interests in Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, the biggest Construction conglomerate in Nigeria. He is heavily into manufacturing and many other sectors of the economy.
“Directly and indirectly, he’s the single largest employer of labour in the country, possibly asides government. It is noteworthy, that his philanthropic gestures are beyond imagination. You should ask about the impact of the Mike Adenuga Foundation. That a good deed does not get reported doesn’t mean good hasn’t been done. Glo has touched the lives of too many entertainers and sports icon. Matter of fact, Glo elevated our celebrities to superstar status and helped to reward the services of some of our forgotten icons. Glo customers are pampered endlessly.
“No wonder, he is often referred to as “The Spirit of Africa…”
“Let us face it, if we counted the numbers, dollar for dollar, Mike Adenuga would sweep everyone off the park. But we are in the world of paid narratives and agenda, when you can buy your place on the rich list and those who already merited their place there don’t mind paying a few bucks to be overvalued. But if you ever become a billionaire, be this one: the billionaire who doesn’t care for the validation of rich lists and the media. The one who touches lives here and there, far and beyond. And ultimately, the one who’s more about the truth of the matter, than the narratives written by others. We all can’t be the Spirit of Africa but trust me, we can learn a lot from his values and essence.”
Following up on the pragmatic nature of the man, whose close friends call The Bull, Chairman, Ovation Media Group, Chief Dele Momodu, in one of his Pendulum accounts titled, Dr Mike Adenuga: Encounters with the Spirit of Africa, wrote to celebrate his 68th birthday in 2021 that he is “a man who touches too many lives from behind his private and exclusive circumvolution.”
The piece is presented in part as follows:
“No man is perfect, and every soul is often misunderstood but I am reasonably convinced that Dr Adenuga’s generosity is out of this world, beyond this realm. He is a pre-eminent African that I have studied as a book and I’m sure I can produce a magnum opus on his life history. His is a life that should have spawned countless autobiographies especially from financial, entrepreneurial and philanthropic historians. I cannot do justice to this monumental human being by trying to capture his life within a single paged column, but I can provide a glimpse into a little of what makes him tick from my personal interaction with him.
“Therefore, let me just give you some of the amazing snippets of our encounters and my uncommon knowledge of him. Please, ignore some of the concocted stories you read about him from time to time. Most are conceived by fiction writers who know that his name can change your fortunes or misfortunes instantly on a good day. Some also try their luck via subliminal messages that are tantamount to blackmail. Trouble is Dr Adenuga is too complicated for most people to unravel. His stories have thus become like fables, the stuff of legends.
“A few months ago, I saw endless missed phone calls from a close friend and professional colleague. By the time I called back, I was very anxious because it was quite unlike my friend to call so frantically and desperately. I conjured a million images in my head about what could have been amiss. I soon discovered what the matter was all about. Apparently, my friend had lamented and grumbled to me about how he used to be very close to Dr Adenuga, but it seemed he had fallen out of favour with the stupendously generous man. I tried to reassure my dear friend that Dr Adenuga never forgets a favour and I’m certain his plate is always full with all sorts which is why he hadn’t yet responded to his attempts at contact and entreaties. His business model is such that he likes to be on top of his game by being hands on. While this may appear strange to many, it has worked so well for him. It is not that he micromanages. It is impossible to micromanage a huge conglomerate such as Dr Adenuga oversees. Indeed, formulating and directing policy, principle and strategy for such a consortium of companies is an arduous task at the best of times. For a man who is fastidious and meticulous in his planning and organisation like Dr Mike Adenuga, it is even more so. Furthermore, I know that Dr Adenuga prefers to deal with people on his own terms and at his own time, probably dictated by his hectic and busy schedule. I therefore advised my friend to be patient knowing that he would be pleasantly surprised.
“Anyway, my friend was in a different mood this time around. “Bod Dee, please, I need a big favour from you Sir!” This further heightened the suspense! “What can I do please, you know I’ll gladly do it if I can…”, I confirmed this to my friend. What he then told me was like I had become a prophet! “Haaa, Bob Dee, ore yin ti fowo semi lese. You don’t want to imagine how much he sent to me…” He was clearly over-excited, almost at the point of giddiness. That’s Dr Mike Adenuga for you. It was one of the reasons I added to his usual monikers The Guru, because of his great intellect and natural flair, and The Bull, because of his physical appearance coupled with the manner in which he brainstorms, barnstorms and battles through prosperity and adversity alike, as well as his zodiac sign and symbol. I coined the appellation “The Spirit of Africa” because he is a man you very rarely see but feel his presence around you in an unmistakable, distinctive and remarkable manner.
“There are tales and complaints about the fact that he does not pick calls nor reply messages but those peddling these stories are oftentimes frustrated by Dr Adenuga’s seemingly indifferent behaviour. Sadly, they don’t actually know that Dr Adenuga is merely responding to a strict code which he has earmarked and defined for himself without understanding and appreciating what is responsible for such a strict code. Those who know him well understand the fact that Dr Adenuga can be very shy and many take advantage of his benevolence and large-heartedness and his unwillingness and inability to say no to people’s needs and requests. As an exceptionally busy man, he does not engage in frivolity. He can’t afford distractions. He doesn’t believe in making a song and dance about his acts of philanthropy, charity and generosity. He will not string you along or make unfulfilled promises. He would simply not talk or revert to you until he is ready. However, when he does react and extend his largesse to you, prepare for a mind-blowing experience.
“Dr Adenuga’s morals, mores and proclivity are dictated by his abundant wealth of experience of life. He’s a very intelligent man who is vastly read and widely travelled. As a result, he not only understands the innate cruelty of man to fellow man, he has also on occasions experienced this first-hand to his surprise and chagrin. These experiences have shaped his thoughts and actions.
“Aside from this, He has had to navigate his way through the murky waters of Nigerian politics. Dr Adenuga avoids and shuns politics like the plague. He does not believe that he must be involved with politics in order for his businesses to survive or thrive. All he campaigns for is an avenue to do business on a level playing field because he knows that he can survive and outlast most people. He considers himself one of the fittest and the best, if not the fittest and the best since he is methodical, calculating and highly industrious and energetic. As he says often, he is hiding his head under the parapet as he is non-aligned and does not want this to be mistaken for support for one side or the other. He knows Nigeria and Nigerians very intimately and does not want to attract unnecessary attention to himself or his business.
“So, after making all this money, how does he enjoy it, I once asked him. He smiled heartily and told me: “Bob Dee, how much money can one individual or his family enjoy? You must spread it and touch lives…that is what brings true happiness and joy. What’s the point if your friend is wealthy and it doesn’t show on you his friends…?” I concurred, words of wisdom from a sage, indeed.
“Everyman should wake up and pray to meet and become good friends with the Spirit of Africa. Trust me, it is worth every second of it. Just imagine a man who dashes out the same kind of cars he drives to friends. He buys these expensive cars in multiples. I have been a beneficiary a few times, so I know. I have a friend who got a Range Rover while his wife got another jeep. How nicer and kinder can one be? No amount of money is too much for Adenuga to shell out on his family and friends. And he really does not expect anything in return. If you have done him a favour then you are truly triply, not doubly blessed, since Dr Adenuga never forgets such favours and offers recompense even beyond your wildest dreams. Dr Adenuga believes that his friends are entitled to the same kind of material things that he wishes for and buys for himself. He has no jealous or mean streak in him in that respect.
“Of course, love must be reciprocal. Dr Adenuga loves integrity and loyalty. Because he hardly goes out, he is able to monitor people and events quietly from his desk and home. He loves people who work hard and is ever willing to offer his helping hand. Since we first met in 1991, I have gained his confidence because he knows my love and respect for him is total and unconditional. He knows my love for him transcends materialism. That is not just because he is Dr Mike Adenuga, one of the richest men in the world, but because he is my mentor and friend and for me true friendship must be total and unconditional. I therefore treat my true friends in the same way, and this just forges our bonds more. Most people fail to understand how truly satisfying and gratifying this approach is. It is an attribute and attitude that Dr Adenuga and I share, and it is why we are content and happy.
“I remember that a few years ago, I had just landed in Dubai on a Saturday morning and promptly checked into my hotel when a call came through from Lagos that I was being invited to dinner with Chairman, as I often call Dr Adenuga, the following evening in Lagos. Confusion instantly set in. A dinner with Chairman is always a treat and privilege. How would I miss such an amazing opportunity? I called the Emirate Airlines and was told the two flights to Lagos and Accra had already departed and the one to Lagos the day after was already overbooked. Based on the lessons I took from Dr Adenuga and Basorun MKO Abiola, that time waits for nobody and that you must always think outside the box to be able to achieve what others would consider seemingly impossible, I wasn’t going to give up so easily. I called The Emirate Airline again and asked if any of their flights could get me to London the same day before 8pm. They told me I could get one if I was ready to downgrade. No worries. I would even sit on a jump seat if necessary. I then called Virgin Atlantic and asked if I could get a seat to Lagos. I was told that this was possible, and I was confirmed. That was how I landed Lagos in the morning of the following day having travelled back to London from Dubai. Needless to say, I made the dinner in the evening. He loves it when you make the impossible possible. It was the portent of good fortune for me since I was able to seal some important deals that evening. Our relationship is truly spiritual, and this has been tested many times. He always knows the right times to send the goodies, almost miraculously.
“His love for the youths of Africa is palpable and they love him too. Nigerians will forever be grateful to him for breaking the seemingly impossible per second billing on telephone services. His heavy investments in laying submarine cables from Europe to Africa also stretches the imagination. The number of our youths who became GLO Ambassadors and superstars on CNN run into hundreds. He has also really done so much too for African football. He has taken our football to greater heights and African football has suddenly become a global phenomenon that can no longer be held back. It is no wonder that Africa continues to get more slots in the FIFA World Cup competition. Despite his unmatched support for the media, Dr Adenuga often suffer savage attacks from those seeking his attention but he has a solid principle: never indulge a blackmailer!
“On a personal note, he has been my mentor and benefactor, brother and friend combined. He’s been a great teacher and I have been his steadfast student. I thank God always for this uncommon grace.”
Dr. Adenuga is many things and more, and today, we preempt his 70th birthday, which is three weeks away, to raise a toast to the ever impressive hidden treasure of Africa.
Why Diezani Alison-Madueke is Fighting Back
By Eric Elezuo
In eight straight years, a former Minister of Petroleum during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, had consistently had a running battle with the Nigeria security agencies under the now rested Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, which accused her of crimes committed while he held sway as minister. However, in the eight long years of the Buhari administration, the agencies found it difficult to prosecute her in the court of law, having accused her of stealing up to $20 billion, but has, according to the former minister, through her lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, engaged in unfruitful media trial without substance.
Consequently, having adopted the strategy of tiring them out, and waited a long time for the security agencies to transcend from the media trial room to the legitimate court room, Alison-Madueke has taken it upon herself to fight back, and redeem what is left of her battered image. As a result, she has brought the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Malam Abubakar Malami, as first and second defendants respectively, through a Writ of Summons before a Federal Capital Territory High Court, demanding the appearance of the duo in court with a statutory 14 days period, or judgment may be given to the claimant in their absence.
The commandment was given in Suit number C4/6273/23, and dated May 26, 2023 with Mrs. Alison-Madueke as the claimant and the duo of EFCC and AGF as defendants.
The former Petroleum Minister, who considered herself a lone scapegoat of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, as she was singled out for her closeness to the former President, is praying the court to declare that certain publications “authored by the Defendant under the supervision of the 2nd Defendant and widely published by the 1st Defendant, is false, malicious, injurious and intended to lower the reputation and integrity of and did indeed lower the reputation and integrity of the Claimant in the estimation of right thinking members of the society within and outside Nigeria and also brought the Claimant into public ridicule, odium, contempt, derision and obloquy.”
Alison-Madueke also sought an order, among many orders “directing the Defendants jointly and severally to pay to the Claimant the sum of N100,000,000,000.00 (100 billion naira) only as damages for the false, injurious, malicious and libelous publications against the Claimant in the 1st Defendant’s publishing platform, and at the instance of both the 1st and the 2nd Defendants.”
The publications according to the claimant were dated from 2017 till 2021, and appeared in prominent national dailies including print and online.
The claimant, in proving the falsehood of the publications, said that the defendants had means and opportunities to verify the truth, but chose not to do so.
“The Defendants had the means and opportunities of verifying the truth or otherwise of the offensive publications, but failed to do so and were motivated in making the offensive publications by the desire to increase their public profile and perception, and to bring the estimation of the Claimant into contempt, odium and ridicule in the eyes of an average Nigerian.
“The publications have greatly prejudiced and injured the Claimant and caused her reputational damage, loss of goodwill, and confidence by her political associates and professional colleagues, whom all of now shun and keep their distance from her as a common thief and corrupt public officer,” the Summons revealed.
Recall that Mrs. Alison-Madueke was Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum till 2015 when the Jonathan’s administration left office. She left for England shortly after to treat severe ailment, and has been in England ever since as the EFCC and the office of the AGF have not ceased to accused of humongous crimes of theft running into billions while she was in office.
In November, 2015, The Boss published an exclusive interview with the former Minister where she insisted that she never stole a dime belonging to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, adding that she left Nigeria to England to treat a ‘worse’ kind of cancer, which was ravaging her health. She told The Boss that she was deliberately lied against, maligned against, in order to project the Jonathan government in a bad light.
“If there is one issue I must pursue in this world it is the biggest lie of this money. How can $20billion disappear just like that? Where did it disappear to? Is it possible that such an amount would not be traceable? This is more painful coming from someone I considered a good friend who should appreciate the gravity of such allegation. I challenge anyone to come forward with facts showing that I stole government or public money. I’ve never stolen Nigeria’s money…
“Rather, I worked hard to halt the rampant business of round-tripping. When I brought in Reginald Stanley to clean up the place, I requested for a list of the defaulters. There were about 92 of them and I made sure we sanctioned them. You can imagine the threat to my life but I was ready to defend the economic interests of my country. In fact, we were able to reduce the oil subsidy by about half. No one has applauded our effort.
“There were those who said the then Governor of Central Bank must have been angry at me because of the way the Presidency treated him. In all honesty, he was being blocked from seeing the President by some of Oga’s people (presidential aides) but it had nothing to do with me. I was the one who even told Oga about the development and Oga said he would meet him in London on one of his trips. Unfortunately my boss fell ill and was rushed to King Edward Hospital and the meeting was aborted.”
“Sanusi and I had been friends. There was no way I would have done anything bad to him. He even came to my house to inform me about his interest in heading the African Development Bank and we discussed for about two hours. I promised to support him and I spoke to Oga about it. We were together on the Reconciliation Committee that looked into the accounts of NNPC. Yes there were gaps but not on the alarming scale being circulated. Markafi (former Governor of Kaduna State) did a thorough job. You know he is a very sound accountant.”
On allegations of owning choice properties everywhere, Diezani told The Boss that “It is so sad that anyone could say such about me. Let me say something to you, I live with my husband in the same house we’ve lived since we married in 1999. Ask anyone who knows us. Our house in Abuja was bought in 2007 by my husband and as an architect and lover of interior décor I did it up to our own taste. It is not over the top because I have good taste and appreciate bargains. I shop in regular shops like B & Q to do up all the places where I live. Anyone who tells you I have houses anywhere should feel free to publish them. That was how they said I bought an expensive property in Vienna. I went to court and I won the case. I never saw the house before except in picture. The house I stay in London is rented. As a woman I love to look good. Some of my dresses and jewelleries are often dumped on me by those I buy from and I pay them when I can.”
However, in 2017, two years after the to and fro of the security agencies on the case, Alison-Madueke spoke out again, insisting that though every human being makes mistakes, but one error that can never be ascribed to her is stealing.
Accusing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of taking advantage of her silence, she said she was prepared to face trial as long as due process is taken into consideration.
The commission has leveled many corruption allegations against her, but Alison-Madueke waved them aside, challenging the agency to provide “incontrovertible” evidence.
She said in a detailed statement where she described the anti-graft war of the current administration as witch hunt: “I have up till now chosen to maintain my silence and not to respond to inaccurate press reporting. However, given the level of deliberate inaccuracies, I am now forced to respond because it is clear that the EFCC is taking advantage of my silence to try me by media and to convict me in the eyes of the public.”
Even while a federal high court in Lagos ordered that the $153 million, which she allegedly lodged in three banks, be temporarily forfeited to the federal government, the ex-minister denied ownership of such amount of money, saying: “I wish to state that I cannot forfeit what was never mine.” She also denied ownership of a N5.7bn mansion located on Margaret Thatcher Close, Asokoro, Abuja, which the EFCC seized in June, 2017. She accused the then Ibrahim Magu-led EFCC of misleading the public.
HER STATEMENT IN FULL:
I have up till now chosen to maintain my silence and not to respond to inaccurate press reporting. However, given the level of deliberate inaccuracies, I am now forced to respond because it is clear that the EFCC is taking advantage of my silence to try me by media and to convict me in the eyes of the public.
I am deeply disturbed and bewildered by recent media reports claiming that by virtue of an order of the federal high court, I have forfeited to the federal government, the sum of $153.3m which I purportedly stole from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
First and foremost, whilst the reasons for my being out of the country are public knowledge, the principle of fair hearing demands that I should have been notified of formal charges if truly there was a prima facie evidence or indictment against my person linking me with the said issue, so as to ensure that I had adequate legal representation.
This was never done. I wish to state that I cannot forfeit what was never mine. I do not know the basis on which the EFCC have chosen to say that I am the owner of these funds as no evidence was provided to me before the order was obtained and they have not in fact served me with the order or, any evidence since they obtained it.
As of the time of my writing this rebuttal, the EFCC have still not furnished me or my Lawyers, with a copy of the order. I am also informed by my lawyers that the legislation under which the EFCC obtained this order is for situations where the funds are believed to be the proceeds of crime and the owner is not known. I do not therefore, understand how the EFCC can in the same breath say that the monies in question are mine.
If they had evidence that the monies were mine then they would not /should not, have used the procedure which applies only to funds of unknown ownership. If indeed they used this particular legal procedure because they did not know who owned the monies, then how can they now be falsely attributing the ownership to me.
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 any charges brought against me that follow duly laid down procedures.
However, in their typical manner and style, the EFCC have gone to the media to attempt to prosecute their case as trial by TV and other media, rather than go through the onerous but tried and tested means of the Judicial Court process. In the face of the obvious falsification of facts and misinformation, it is only right and proper that the EFCC should publish the details of the $153.3M lodgements, the bank account numbers and the account beneficiaries, showing proof of my link to them. Having also alleged that the said $153.3M was ‘wired’ from NNPC, the EFCC should also publish details of the NNPC accounts from where the said $153.3 million was taken from, with proof that I authorized such a transaction/transactions acting either in my private capacity or, as The Honourable Minister of Petroleum. Let me state for the record that as Minister of Petroleum, the operation and management of NNPC finances were outside my purview as outlined in both the Petroleum Act and the NNPC Act. The only involvement I had in NNPC Finances was in terms of statutory matters, where the Petroleum Act prescribed that as Minister, there were certain duties or actions which I had to perform or take in relation to NNPC.
With regards to the various news reports published in both the online and print media, insidiously inferring that I was indicted by Italian prosecutors for, as they put it, ‘ sharing in the Loot’ of the $1.3bn OPL 245 oil block deal that involved Malabu and the Joint Venture Multinational partners, ENI(AGIP) and Royal Dutch Shell. Let me once again State for the record, that this is another figment of the author’s imagination, which given the persistent bid to ensure my destruction and stick all of the Sins of the Corruption plagued Oil and Gas Sector of over the last 30years upon my head, probably emanated from the EFCC itself! Let me clarify the position re the history of OPL 245, otherwise known as Malabu. You will find a full chronology in the attached report that I made to the House of Representatives in late 2011 (Annex 2A/Annex-2B). In 2010, shortly after I was appointed as Minister of Petroleum Resources, the issue of OPL 245 was brought to my attention. I looked into the case and immediately became aware of the inherent and long standing sensitivities around this issue. It became clear from the onset that this case was not within the direct purview of the Minister of Petroleum Resources but in the main was centered around issues of Law. By this time there was already an ICSID(International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes) investigation and claims against the FGN running into billions of dollars. Therefore, we took directives from the Chief Legal Officer of the Nation; the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. In all of these matters due process was followed to the letter at all times. I wish to categorically state that I have never held any discussions on this matter, with any individuals or entities outside of official channels. As Minister of Petroleum Resources, I did not participate in any activity relating to financial payments on the Malabu matter, other than those statutorily mandated to the Minister of Petroleum Resources by the Petroleum Act. My role in this matter was a purely statutory one as required by Law in the Petroleum Act 3.
THE ALJAZEERA REPORT – $18MILLION MANSION
On the 13th of June 2016, the EFCC once again took their well-trodden path to the media. This time claiming that they had ‘discovered’ a mansion in Asokoro, Abuja, worth $18million (approx. N9billion) which they purported to belong to me. The EFCC went to the extent of bringing in Aljazeera, an International TV Station, to air a damaging documentary against me in this regard, showing a particular residential building in Asokoro, Abuja, which they told Aljazeera belonged to me.
The EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu, personally took the Aljazeera reporter to the building, alleging that it belonged to me. It has since become apparent that the house belongs to a company owned by Mr Kola Aluko. If this is not a witch hunt or a personal vendetta against me, how is it that one of our Country’s premier investigative agencies were unable to avail themselves of facts that are freely available in the public domain. Since the EFCC claims that the alleged $18million Asokoro property belongs to me, then they should kindly produce the ‘Authentic’ Certificate of Occupancy and Land Registry information and any other relevant information, as proof of my ownership of the property.
FAMILY HOME – YENEGOA, BAYELSA STATE
On the 9th November 2016, the EFCC visited our Family home in Yenegoa (Bayelsa State) as pre-agreed and they were escorted around the premises. I was therefore completely shocked to once again see my name sensationally splashed across the Front Pages of Newspapers and widely circulated on the internet, with blaring Headlines such as “EFCC UNCOVERS DIEZANI’S MULTI-BILLION NAIRA ESTATE”
There was absolutely nothing ‘Hidden’ or ‘Concealed’ about the home. I HAD DECLARED IT OPENLY as required by Law, in my Asset declaration forms (Annex-4B). Yet the EFCC have announced that they ‘Just Discovered’ my ‘Hidden Estate’! And labelled it a ‘Multi-Billion Naira Estate’! Even though they had been given the Bill of Quantities, showing actual amount spent. It is accepted Tradition across the length and breadth of Nigeria, for people to own country/village homes.
Given the size of the land and the location of the compound, the buildings thereon cannot by any stretch of the imagination be a “Multi-Billion Naira” palatial estate, as the news mongers would want to portray. The EFCC were taken on a tour of the compound which consisted of A Main house, and two outhouses – An Obi (meeting bungalow) and a staff quarters(BQ) building – above which we built 3 guest rooms and a parlour. The only other 2 structures are the gate and generator houses. Construction began in late 2011 and was handled in phases. During the visit the EFCC was given the bill of quantities, which up until the time construction stopped in early 2015, due to my illness, was at approximately N394million which was declared in the code of conduct documentation, attached (the costs were partially funded by a loan – see code of conduct – Annex4B, the work is still uncompleted and the contractor is still being owed).
Building costs escalated as a result of delays in construction and external factors such as the extreme flooding of late 2012, that covered most of our areas in the Niger Delta. Due to the topography of the land and the heavily waterlogged and marshy terrain, construction is infinitely more expensive than in other parts of the Country, as by its nature it requires the building of extensive piling/raft foundations before any structural work can commence. The flooding of 2012 compounded the problem and further increased the cost of construction.
$700 MILLION CASH FOUND IN MY HOUSE
Stories were circulated by unscrupulous agents of calumny that the EFCC found a mind boggling $700million in cash in my home in Abuja. Would the videos of this $700 million cash discovery not have made good viewing? Or should those who recovered this money not tell the public where exactly the money has been kept? Perhaps the Central bank should corroborate that it is in custody of these monies allegedly found in my house? But then, it is now patently apparent that Nigerians are no longer easily led to believe fables and sensational untruths.
THE MISSING $20 BILLION
In late 2013, NNPC was accused by the then CBN governor, of misappropriating first $49.8billion, then it changed to $12billion and finally it was said to be $20billion. And in the twinkling of an eye that accusation was turned around and directed at me, personally. I was accused of stealing/misappropriating the unfathomable amount of $20 billion. In a CNN TV Interview in March 2015, the former CBN Governor stated that “there was this gap of $20 billion after reconciliation between what NNPC exported and what it repatriated to the federation account and I raised a number of issues that I think have not yet been discussed and addressed sufficiently.
One of them is billions of dollars being paid in kerosene subsidy without appropriation by the National Assembly and against a presidential order and we don’t know who authorised these payments yet. Nobody has owned up to say I authorised these payments, I made a mistake, it will stop…”.
He, went on to say that…. “…It could be $20 billion at the end of the day, after reconciliation they could account for 10 or 12…”. So, as he pointed out, there was indeed a reconciliation that at first stage had begun to close the purported gap. He also referred to the non-appropriation of kerosene subsidy by the National Assembly. This was an issue for which I had tried to engender a resolution and for which I was still seeking a lasting solution to, at the time the CBN Governor raised these issues (Annex-2A). He had stated severally that a large portion of the $20billion was constituted of illegal approvals for Subsidy payments that I had given and that the late President Yar’adua had directed that the said subsidy payments should be stopped and that I did not comply with President Yar’adua’s directive. I have said it before but let me say it again. President Yar’adua’s directives were made in a presidential memo dated June 10, 2009, to the late Petroleum Minister, Rilwanu Lukman, not to me. I was not the Minister of Petroleum Resources at that time. My tenure as Petroleum Minister began in April, 2010. Those directives were not complied with by Rilwanu Lukman, not Diezani Alison-Madueke. I made several attempts when we came into office in April 2010, to get to the real truth of the matter. Even before we came in the GMD who served under Rilwanu Lukman, Alhaji Barkindo, who is today the Secretary General of OPEC, had written to the then Minister of Finance, Alhaji Muhktar, to enquire for clarity on the matter, to no avail.
Finally, I had to write to President Jonathan to get to the truth of the matter. President Jonathan pointed out that although he and President Yar’adua had wanted to cancel the entire issue of subsidies, the unions had objected and therefore the payment of subsidy had never been stopped. He directed that in the meantime we continue the payments but with the proviso that we prepare for complete deregulation as soon as possible(Annex-2C), which I of course moved to implement on Jan 1st, 2012. Today, we all know that the PWC report that was published cleared me of any wrong doing and no one up till now has been able to controvert the PWC report, nor has anyone been able to show that the $20 billion is actually, or was ever, missing.
In addition, the Makarfi-led committee in the Senate of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, in a series of publicly-held hearings, also vindicated me on the matter of the purportedly missing funds. In late 2011, due to the incessantly high subsidy figures which we knew were coming from unscrupulous marketers who were dealing in Round-tripping at the expense of the Nation, I removed all 92 PPPRA throughput marketers, amongst whom we believed were those undertaking round-tripping and substantially raising the cost of subsiding petrol for the entire Nation.
In doing that, I cut the subsidy bill to the Nation by almost 50% and put my life under immediate threat. Yet, I was accused, in the now defunct NEXT magazine, of taking bribes from these same companies. At end December 2011, I directed PPPRA to move for complete deregulation, to rid the Oil & Gas sector of the speculators, the bloated middlemen and the parasitic influence of Godfatherism. This was in an attempt to create a far less corruptible system as it was quite clear that the intended benefits of the Subsidy system were not reaching the masses but were being hijacked by unscrupulous middlemen cabals.
And finally, to allow the true market factors of supply and demand to come into play….. And as you all know, the country pushed back against it. Even after that, in early January 2012, I sought the permission and received the approval, of President Jonathan to write to EFCC asking that they please come in and investigate the entire Subsidy program and the fraudulence embedded in it(Annex-2D). And yet, I was called the corrupt one. It is pertinent to note here, that the incumbent government themselves maintained the full subsidy regime for over one year until they realised (as I had pointed out in 2011 and had championed continuously), that it was unsustainable. 7. My Stewrdship I would like to state for the record that I performed my duty as Minister of Petroleum Resources with the utmost sincerity and sense of responsibility, ensuring that all Nigerians irrespective of creed, gender or tribe enjoyed their rightful benefits from the Oil and Gas Sector. $5.6 Billion LNG Dividend Fund It is pertinent to note that at the end of my tenure, I left behind in the LNG dividend fund, for the incoming Administration, the sum of $5.6billion(five billion six hundred million US Dollars)(Annex-6A). I did this to ensure continuity in the crucial gas sector development which underpins the entire Power and Energy Sector and which was and still is, absolutely imperative for the Country’s current and future economic development. Local Content Having pushed for the full implementation of the Nigerian Local Content Act, despite resistance from various stakeholders, I actively promoted the benefits of ‘Nigerians Right to First Consideration’ in both the downstream and upstream sectors. The immediate effect of my actions was that for the first time in history, thousands of Nigerians were able to break through the barriers of a sector that had hitherto been the preserve of a few powerful groups with vested interest, and thereby earn a living. This remains a source of pride to me, that not only did it create wealth across the entire economic value chain but it also ensured the unparalleled transfers of knowledge and expertise for our indigenous operators. It is noteworthy that the template is being adapted for use in other countries. Fuel Scarcity It is on record, that I immediately took the issue of incessant fuel queues head-on and in my time as petroleum minister, Nigerians rarely experienced fuel shortages. These queues had long dominated our landscape, causing untold hardship to millions of ordinary Nigerians stuck in fuel queues for hours; like the bus driver who was unable to earn enough to go to the market, and the market woman who, therefore, earned less and so could not afford school fees. This example, though at the most basic level, caused a chain reaction which was replicated in various facets throughout the economy. So, on the macro economic level, the main benefit of ending the fuel queues was an immediate increase in GDP, reduction in inflation and easier facilitation and movement of people, goods and services, across the country. The continuing effect of all these measures were that even in the most remote locations, Nigerians could buy and sell petroleum products. Gas Supply & Infrastructure As soon as I assumed office, I put into play my wealth of experience in the oil and gas sector, knowing that gas was imperative for our future growth and prosperity. I put together a team to look at all aspects of growing Nigeria’s Gas with the intent of turning Nigeria into a Premier Gas Exploring and Producing Country, even more than an oil producing country. We started working on Gas for Industry – The commercialisation approach, Gas for home use – LPG, and Gas for Power generation. We even sponsored a pilot scheme for Gas to power vehicles. I implemented a short, medium and long term project to put in place sustainable gas supply to underpin the power sector and began laying the requisite infrastructure that was virtually non-existent when we took office. We worked with NERC and the CBN to put in place the necessary fiscal levers, to ensure that Gas supply would be competitively priced. I left behind a comprehensive and detailed plan for the rollout of LPG and the Industrialisation of GAS eg. The Ogidingben project. Petroleum Industry Bill I personally worked tirelessly through the night on many occasions, with the committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill, to finally get it to the point where for the first time in over 12 years, we could place it before the Federal Executive Council, and the National Assembly. I championed this in a bid to create aless corrupt, more transparent, accountable and responsible NNPC and Oil and Gas Industry as a whole. It was also to create additional funding inflows for the Nation. This was in spite of the fact that there was major resistance from powerful interest groups within and outside Nigeria. I take personal satisfaction even now, that the PIB template I presented to the country is still the benchmark for the current and future development of the Oil Sector in Nigeria. The Template is already being adapted for use in other countries.
It is saddening that after eight years of serving my country, my experience as a public servant has been fraught with continuous malicious castigation and character assassination, all in the name of ‘personal vendettas’ or political horse trading. It has become apparent to many that these untruths told were at best well-crafted fables. The most dramatic and damning accusation was the infamous missing $49.8 Billion Dollars, that went from to $12 Billion and then up to $20 Billion and which was alleged missing from NNPC. Today, we all know that the PWC report that was published cleared me of any wrong doing and no one up till now has been able to controvert the PWC report nor has anyone found the “missing” 20 billion, or who took it. In addition, the Makarfi-led committee in the Senate of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, in a series of publicly-held hearings, also vindicated me on the matter of the purportedly missing funds. Yet, we are all silent as if these events never occurred! The allegations that I have addressed above are no different, the character assassination continues, this time with a new set of hirelings. One of the basic tenets of the human trait is that we all have shortcomings and we all make our fair share of mistakes, whether we are in positions of Leadership, or not. However, one error that cannot be ascribed to me is STEALING FROM NIGERIA & DEFRAUDING MY COUNTRY! It is therefore sad and distressing that in spite of all that I tried to do in the best interest of our Nation, I continue to be faced with constant demonisation, unproven accusations and deeply personal insults. In response I have chosen not to insult, accuse or demonise anyone, any person or persons. In spite of all the allegations that have been made against me, not one has been factually proven. I remain very proud of the fact that all the policies, tenets and plans that I initiated in the Oil & Gas sector are still underpinning the entire structure. This is because they were put in place with the good of the entire nation and its people in mind. They were not factional, or tribal, neither were they based on religious bias. I am 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 & Commonwealth Chevening Scholarship Award and was thereafter admitted to my MBA program at the World renowned Cambridge University. In 2006, I was appointed as the first female executive director in the history of Shell Petroleum, Nigeria. Just over a year later, I was nominated and appointed as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, culminating in my appointment as Nigeria’s first female Minister of Petroleum, where again by dint of hard work I was appointed as the first female in history(in a completely male dominated space) to hold the Presidency of OPEC. I can therefore, NO LONGER SIT BACK and allow the fabricated accusations against my person designed by unscrupulous persons with a vengeful agenda go unchallenged. As a Christian, it is my sincerely held belief that in the coming months, history will be the judge of exactly who Lied and who told the Truth. By the Grace of God, I shall be here to see the day when truth prevails. The fight against corruption in Nigeria will be far better served if the EFCC focus on incontrovertible facts, as opposed to media sensationalism and completely distorted stories, in their bid to demonise and destroy a few specially chosen Nigerians. Documentary evidence is available to support the facts.
ALISON-MADUEKE IN THE EYE OF HER COUNSEL
The Claimant served as the Minister for Petroleum Resources of the Federal Rep ublic of Nigeria between 2010 and 2015 in the President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s Administration. The Claimant before then, had served as the Honorable Minister for Transportation and Honorable Minister for Mines and Steel Development, respectively, under the Umaru Y’ar Adua Administration between 2007 and 2009. The Claimant before serving in the Government of the Federation had held the position of Executive Director in Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, being the first Woman ever to be so appointed to that position in Nigeria, in the history of the Corporation.
During the course of the Claimant’s service as Minister of Petroleum Resources, she spearheaded the enactment and implementation of the Nigerian Local Content Development Act, which made provisions aimed at encouraging and securing the participation of Nigerian companies in the provision of services in both the downstream service sector and the upstream exploration and development sector of the Oil and Gas industry in Nigeria. For the first time in Nigeria’s 90 plus years of oil exploration and producing history, an unprecedented number of Nigerian companies began doing very highly technical work within the industry. This resulted in the current figures of over 100,000 direct jobs got from over 9,600 operator and service companies, as well as over 400,000 indirect jobs. This singular iniative has also ensured current Nigerian content level of over 54%, in the downstream service sector alone.
Amongst many other implemented policies introduced by the Claimant, she also re-drafted the critical Petroleum Industry Bill in order to achieve a much higher degree of transparency and accountability in the petroleum sector and a fairer and more equitable national distribution of Petroleum profits, to increase Nigeria’s percentage share of the lucrative deep offshore exploration profits.
Towards the end of the tenure of the administration of President Good luck Ebele Jonathan, the Claimant was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of breast cancer –Triple Negative Cancer. She hurriedly flew to England on 22nd May, 2015, in order to undertake a critical course of treatment, which consisted of two operations, eight months of intensive chemotherapy and five weeks of radiotherapy. She has remained in England ever since then, constantly undergoing intensive medical care and treatment.
The Claimant is a very successful Architect and holds the Fellowship of several international bodies and associations.
The Claimant is an accomplished Public Administrator, a Politician and has achieved several international and local awards for her outstanding performances built on a solid foundation of hard-work, integrity and strength of character and illustrious family pedigree.
SOME OF THE PUBLICATIONS REFERRED TO AS DEFAMATORY TO ALISON-MADUEKE
On the 16th day of December, 2021, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants, in a publication titled ”Diezani: EFCC uncovers additional $72.8 million in Fidelity Bank”, maliciously wrote, authored and/or caused to be authored, or published to the whole world at large of and concerning the Claimant, through the 3rd Defendant’s online platform to wit: https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/501068-diezani-efcc-uncovers-additional-72-8-million-in-fidelity-bank.html?tztc=1, through which publications they falsely and maliciously described the Claimant as a common criminal who looted public funds belonging to the Federal Republic of Nigeria for her personal gain.
In a publication made on the 8th day of August 2017, by the 1st 2nd and 3rd Defendants, titled “Unbelievable!!! EFCC traces N47.2 Billion, $ 487.5 Million to ex-Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke”, the 1st 2nd and 3rd Defendants falsely and maliciously wrote, authored and or/caused to be written, authored, or published to the whole world at large through the 3rd Defendant’s online platform, a false and incidious story to: https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/239620-unbelievable-efcc-traces-n47-2billion-487-5million-ex-minister-diezani-alison-madueke.html?tztc=1, wherin they falsely and maliciously described the Claimant thus: “It seems Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, until recently, Minister of Petroleum Resources, going by the sheer amount of her acquisition of gold and diamonds, may have been fighting a spirited war against millions of compatriots who are heavily and unevenly yoked by crass poverty. To boot, the former minister is accused of having stolen – in broad daylight – the money that funded her acquisitive binge. A search of one of Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s palatial residences in Abuja, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) turned up boxes of gold, silver and diamond jewelry, worth several million pounds sterling”.
In yet another publication, made on the 24th day of January, 2022, titled, “Again, court orders arrest of ex-petroleum minister, Diezani, over corruption charges”, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants falsely and maliciously relying on the false information supplied to court wrote, authored, published and/or caused to be written, to the whole world at large through its online media and prints to wit:
https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/507545-again-court-orders-arrest-of-ex-petroleum-minister-diezani-over-corruption-charges.html?tztc=1, where they falsely and maliciously described the Claimant as a common criminal facing multiple charges of money laundering before federal courts in Lagos and Abuja and believed to be in the United Kingdom where she is also being allegedly investigated for money laundering.
MORE REASONS DIEZANI IS FIGHTING BACK
According to legal documents obtained by The Boss, the legal team of the claimant believe that the actions of the EFCC and AGF among others are solely based on rubbishing the hard earned integrity of their client, hence the need to call a spade a spade, and put the situation into perspective. The document signed by Chief Ozekhome stated thus:
MEANING OF THE PUBLICATIONS IN THEIR NATURAL AND ORDINARY MEANING
The Claimant avers that the statements are defamatory in their natural and ordinary meaning. The publications meant and were understood by reasonable members of the public to mean that:
(i) The Claimant is not worthy of taking part in the governance of Nigeria especially occupying high profile office of public trust.
(ii) The Claimant is of dubious and doubtful character.
(iii) The Claimant is untrustworthy, unethical and a corrupt politician who promotes evil culture of stealing from the Federal Government of Nigeria and corrupt enrichment among others.
The Claimant has no better heritage than her integrity and good character. They are of paramount importance to the success of her political endeavors and several achievements she has notched.
Upon reading the online and hard copy publications, the Claimant was gravely shocked, disturbed, embarrassed, traumatized, harassed, flustered discommoded, peeved and exasperated.
The publications led to several letters, sms/text messages and telephone calls from various quarters including, religious leaders, her immediate family members, loved ones, friends, associates, professional and political associates, and well-wishers of the Claimant both home and abroad.
Since the publications, the Claimant’s residence has also been inundated with visits by of relatives and friends both home and abroad, who have expressed their shock and disappointment in her over these false publications.
The Defendants had the means and opportunities of verifying the truth or otherwise of the offensive publications, but failed to do so and were motivated in making the offensive publications by the desire to make money and to bring the estimation of the Claimant into contempt, odium and ridicule in the eyes of an average Nigerian.
The publications have greatly prejudiced the Claimant and caused her reputational damage, loss of goodwill, and confidence by her political associates and professional colleagues who now shun and keep their distance from her as a common thief and corrupt public officer.
The callous and defamatory publications as maliciously made by the Defendants have effectively besmirched the Claimant’s professional and political integrity and pedigree.
PUBLICATIONS WERE ACTUATED BY MALICE AFORETHOUGHT
The acts of the Defendants destroyed the Claimant’s hard-earned reputation and all that she has laboured for over the years. The acts of the Defendants were clearly accentuated by malice aforethought and bad faith, without any justification whatsoever.
PARTICULARS OF MALICE
(i) The publications were made in such brazen manner that any reader who read the story readily believed the conclusiveness that she was an international criminal.
(ii) Making such bizarre and false allegations against the Claimant knowing same to be untrue and without any foundation, was not only dishonest and reckless, but is calculated to incite the numerous friends, associates, family members, admirers and followers against her.
(iii) The Defendants had the opportunity to very the accuracy of the publications by cross checking with the Claimant, but deliberately failed to do so.
(iv) The defamatory words of the Defendants were actually schemed and embarked upon by the Defendants to denigrate, disgrace, embarrass, humiliate and subject her to public ridicule, opprobrium and derision in the eyes of right-thinking members of the public and the society at large. And more…
PARTICULARS OF FALSEHOOD AND SPECIFIC DENIAL OF FALSE ALLEGATIONS
i) The Claimant states that no money whatsoever in the sum of $72.8 million was ever discovered in Fidelity Bank that is associated with her, which she purportedly stole from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
ii) The Claimant avers that contrary to the ridiculous and wild allegations made against her by the 1st Defendant that the sum of N47.2 Billion, and $487.5 million, were traced to the Claimant’s home are laughable as no home can house such humongous sum in cash except the Central Bank of Nigeria.
iii) The Claimant avers that whilst the reasons for her being out of the country are public knowledge and are most certainly known to the 1st and 2nd Defendants, the principle of fair hearing demand that she ought to have been notified of any formal charges against her if truly there was any prima facie evidence, against her person, linking her with the said sums that she be afforded adequate legal representation; which was never done.
iv) The Claimant avers that she could never have forfeited what was never hers and sums she never had in the first place.
v) The Claimant avers that she was never apprised of the basis upon which the 1st Defendant accused her of being the owner of these jewelries allegedly worth $40,000,000.00, (forty million dollars), as no evidence was provided to her before the said order was obtained. They defendant whatsoever have not till the time of initiating this suit, ever served her or her Counsel with the said order, or any evidence pertaining to this matter, since they obtained same. And many more…
The Claimant vehemently and specifically denies each and every allegation of fact contained in the said publications which are nothing but a figment of the imagination of the Defendants. She states most emphatically that the entire publications are most baseless, false, malevolent and totally bereft of any truth or foundation howsoever, and without any justification for publishing same.
Diezani is therefore, asking the defendants to as a matter of urgency to tender publications of apology as a prelude to settlement, or in the alternative, the court should make certain declarations including “A DECLARATION that the publication made on the 16th day of December, 2021, titled ”Diezani: EFCC uncovers additional $72.8 million in Fidelity Bank”, authored by the 1st Defendant under the supervision of the 2nd Defendant and widely published by the 3rd Defendant, is libelous, untrue, malicious, injurious and intended to lower the reputation and integrity of and indeed lowered the reputation and integrity of the Claimant in the estimation of right thinking members of the society within and outside Nigeria and also brought the Claimant into public ridicule, odium, contempt and derision.”
And in addition, orders including “AN ORDER directing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendant to retract the libelous publications against the Claimant and consequently publish an unreserved apology in at least three (3) national newspapers including This Day, PUNCH and The Sun Newspapers within seven (7) days from the date of Judgment.
Senate Presidency: Who Wears the Crown?
By Eric Elezuo
In less than one week, the 109 members of Nigeria’s upper chamber, the Senate, will assemble to elect one of their own as their president, to supervise the activities of not just the 10th Senate, but the 10th National Assembly (NASS) comprising the senate and the House of Representatives.
Presently, tempers are high as regards who is fit to bear the toga of Senate President even as the the camp of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are in disarray over zoning.
With the inauguration of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu presidency, it was believed that the stage will be set for a smooth transition from the ninth to the 10th Senate, but that is not to be.
Prior to the present, the Tinubu administration had anointed certain members of the party to take the leadership of the National Assembly, especially party members to follow suit, while cajoling members of the opposition to also toe their line. However, the choices of the party have not resonated perfectly with other members, who are nursing the interest to grab the plum position. While the party chose former Akwa Ibom State governor, and former Minister of the Niger Delta, Chief Godswill Akpabio as it’s preferred candidate for the presidency, other interested parties are not having any of it, thereby creating a huge dissension in the party.
The likes of former Abia State governor, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, former Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari and Osira Izunaso, all ranking members of the senate, are also interested in the position, and seem not to agree in the supremacy of the party in this regard.
The APC has, in its wisdom zoned the presidency to the Christian South considering the both the president and the vice president are Muslims. While the president is from southwest, the Vice president is from the northeast. Consequently, the northwest, represented by Mr Yari, and believing they have a greater stake for giving Tinubu a larger number of votes, should be considered above all others. The southeast block, which Uzor Kalu claim to represent, are asking for equity, saying the Igbo deserve the third highest ranking position in the country. Izunaso is also from the southeast.
But with mounting opposition to the anointing of Akpabio, report says that Tinubu may have revoked his support for the former Niger Delta Minister. This is following the protests of senate whip, Uzor Orji Kalu, and Abdulaziz Yari.
Kalu and Yari have said they are still in the race for senate president, with the former governor of Abia hinting at an alliance with the former.
Again, the APC National chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, had also admitted that the leadership of the party had not consulted widely concerning the issue.
The chairman said the party was reviewing the nominations to see if the decision could be reversed.
“We must as democrats open up. We will go back to the drawing board. We owe our party that duty to take a look whether what was done can be changed; what was done needs some changes or reviews,” Adamu said.
The chairman’s stand spoke volumes of the fact that party leadership was divided over the nominations, giving a clear indication that every interested candidate may be on his own as the election day draws nearer. A source told TheCable however, that a meeting of the party’s leadership has been fixed for Thursday to find a solution to the impasse.
But whichever way the election goes next week, one of these four men will most likely head the 10th National Assembly
GODSWILL OBOT AKPABIO
Formerly a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where he served as two terms governor of Akwa Ibom State between 2007 and 2015, Akpabio was born on December 9, 1962. Originally trained as a lawyer, he was elected into the senate after his tenure as governor, and rose to become the minority leader. He later served as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs after defectingvto the APC in 2018, from 2019 to May 2022 when he resigned to contest the ticket of his party for the 2023 presidential election. He however stepped down for the eventual winner, Bola Tinubu, on the day of the primary election.
Akpabio was revered as the uncommon governor while his days lasted in Akwa Ibom for some of the gigantic strides he took in his administration.
However, Akpabio is bedeviled with a corruption baggage, which is not sitting well with members of his party. Much as he was originally anointed as the party’s choice, oppositions are trailing his candidacy. It is on record that Akpabio did not contest the ticket of his party for the Senatorial election as he was contesting the presidency
ORJI UZOR KALU
Also a former two terms governor, Kalu governed Abia State between 1999 and 2007 under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was elected into the senate on the platform of the Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA), a party he formed. Presently, he is the House Chip Whip while representing Abia Nortg Senatorial District.
Aside being a politician, Kalu, who was born on April 21, 1960, is also a businessman, who owns SLOK Holding, the Daily Sun and New Telegraph newspapers.
Like most politicians, Kalu also has corruption baggage, and was convicted by the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court in December 2019 and sentenced to 12 years in prison for N7.65 billion fraud. He was convicted for defrauding the government of Abia State using his company, Slok Nigeria Limited.
In May 2020, the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled that his trial was wrongly conducted and released him from prison while ordering a retrial. The retrial is yet to hold.
Probably the youngest of the quad at 55, Yari served as governor of Zamfara State from 2011 to 2019. He was first elected on the platform of the the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) before becoming amber of APC following a merger. Yari is among the school of thought that believes the northwest deserves the senate presidency, and him the right candidate even as he is assuming Senatorial duties for the first time.
Zamfara, the state he governed for eight remains the one of the poorest states in Nigeria.
Representing Imo West Senatorial district, Izunaso prides himself as the most experienced and highest ranked of all South South and Southeast senators.
He believes he has a robust and outstanding legislative and National Assembly experience spanning from 1992 when he served as the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of House of Representatives to 1999 when he was appointed as the Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate. He is the only one among the four, who has not held executive powers, but has consistently remained in the legislative corridors as a lawmaker.
Izunaso once survived a recall by his constituency in 2009, and ever since, has remained in the legislative Chambers.
Remembering Prophet TB Joshua (1963 – 2021)
By Eric Elezuo
The morning of Sunday, June 6, 2021 was particularly shattering for many adherents of the Christian faith, especially those of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN). The overseer of the congregation, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, had passed away the night before, June 5, 2021 shortly after presiding over a meeting with Emmanuel TV Partners.
The message that heralded the unbelievable occurrence read:
“Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.” – Amos 3:7
“On Saturday 5th June 2021, Prophet TB Joshua spoke during the Emmanuel TV Partners Meeting: “Time for everything – time to come here for prayer and time to return home after the service.”
“God has taken His servant Prophet TB Joshua home – as it should be by divine will. His last moments on earth were spent in the service of God. This is what he was born for, lived for and died for.
“As Prophet TB Joshua says, “The greatest way to use life is to spend it on something that will outlive it”.
“Prophet TB Joshua leaves a legacy of service and sacrifice to God’s Kingdom that is living for generations yet unborn.
“The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations and Emmanuel TV Family appreciate your love, prayers and concern at this time and request a time of privacy for the family.
Here are Prophet TB Joshua’s last words: “Watch and pray.”
“One life for Christ is all we have; one life for Christ is so dear.
The peace of the world was temporarily interrupted as it got ready for a glorious Sunday service. Prophet TB Joshua, the ebullient TV Evangelist, who carved a niche for himself in every area of life including, and especially giving, has died, and just one week to his 58th birthday.
If ever there was a man, other than Jesus Christ, who attracted so much controversy in the course of performing his duties across board, that man is Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, popularly known by all and sundry as TB Joshua. He was a man, who waded through popular dislikes, even among members of same profession to become a champion in propagating the Word of God. Among his superlatives was hosting congregants from over 50 nations of the world in a mega crusade in Jesus’ native home, Nazareth, in June 2019
Incidentally born on one of Nigeria’s most important dates, June 12, (1963), TB Joshua was a combination of so many talents ranging from shepherding flocks as a pastor, a prolific televangelist, a die-hard philanthropist and above all, an unrepentant lover of God. He was the leader and founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), a Christian organisation, which he nurtured from scratch to becoming a force to reckon with among religious organisations the world over. The ministry runs the Emmanuel TV television station from Lagos, and is transmitted globally.
For a man whose birth was foretold 100 years earlier, spent extra six months in his mother’s womb as well as escaped death when a quarry explosion near his house sent rocks through its roof just seven days after his birth, according to his official biography, it was obvious that TB Joshua was destined for greatness.
Prophet Joshua, who was known as “small pastor” because of his love for the Bible during his school days, attended St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School in Arigidi Akoko, from 1971 to 1977. Though he wasn’t opportune to complete one year of secondary school education, he attended evening school, which he combined with casual jobs and teaching of bible lessons. Joshua was destined to work in the Lord’s vineyard, and that explains why his attempt to join the military was thwarted as result of a train breakdown.
It is difficult to believe that Prophet TB Joshua became as popular as he was before death cut his journey short on June 5, 2021 considering the avalanche of persecution he had to endure right from the onset of his ministerial calling. Most of these persecutions, unfortunately were from his colleagues in evangelism and ministration. They accused him of not being genuine, saying his style of ministration is suspicious and fake. It is also on record that most of his critics constantly visit his church discreetly for spiritual assistance. However, the man who was variously described as the ‘Oprah of evangelism’ continued to wax stronger in his God given calling. He was known across Africa, Europe, the Orients and Latin America and had an overwhelming social media presence; 3,500,000 fans on Facebook; over 1,000,000 YouTube subscribers and is the world’s most viewed Christian ministry on the platform before his passing.
TB’s church, simply referred to as The Synagogue, and headquartered at Ikotun, Lagos, Nigeria, has remained a Mecca/meeting point of some sort for as many that require one solution or another to life issues. In fact, testimonies abound of what God was using him to do in his life time. The church is said to attract more “weekly attendees than the combined number of visitors to Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.” Not only that, it also provides popular services which have resulted in an enormous boost for local businesses and hoteliers. He constantly helped Nigeria derive foreign revenue due to the influx of worshippers year in and year out. The church is practically “Nigeria’s biggest tourist attraction”. It is surprising to note therefore, that until his death, the ‘Man of God’ had only one branch of the church, located in Ghana.
Apart from ordinary people whose testimonies of healing and turnaround cannot be readily overemphasized, notable personalities cutting across celebrities, politicians, football stars among others found one form of succour or another after visiting the late Prophet.
Among celebrity visitations to The Synagogue were the wife of Ghanaian goal keeper, Richard Kingson, notable Ghanaian human rights lawyer, Kwabla Senanu, Ghanaian musician, Denise Williams, veteran Nigerian Nollywood Actress, Camilla Mberekpe, Jim Iyke, Kanu Nwankwo, Kenyan Olympic athlete, Mercy Cherono, Hamza Al-Mustapha among others. It was also known that politicians seeking public offices also make the place their home.
Many have said that Prophet Joshua was travelling shy, but he visited many places in his efforts to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and dished out philanthropic gestures. Among such places include Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay, London, Korea and others where he held powerful soul winning and vision impacting crusades.
His giving ability was legendary, and he was involved in extensive humanitarian projects worldwide, using The Synagogue. He was once said to have spent an estimated $20 million on charitable activities. His giving cuts across orphans, widows, elderly, physically challenged and destitute. There is also a rehabilitation programme for militants from Nigeria’s volatile Niger Delta region, repentant armed robbers and sex workers who came to the church for ‘deliverance’.
Humble to the core, he was known to join his team in most of the humanitarian journeys they undertook to less-privileged communities. Again, his June 12 birthday was celebrated by assisting less-privileged individuals in their societies by his large followers, every year.
TB Joshua and SCOAN contributed immensely to communities and individuals from within and outside Nigeria. In 2010 when the Haiti earthquake occurred, Joshua sent a team of medical personnel and humanitarian workers to the affected area, establishing a field hospital called ‘Clinique Emmanuel’.
Also in 2016, he provided over $500,000 worth of humanitarian aid to victims of earthquake in Ecuador. He additionally sent support to nations such as Philippines, India and Ghana in the wake of varying natural disasters. He was also a key supporter of sports, and is credited with discovering the duo of Sani Emmanuel and Ogenyi Onazi from his club, My Peoples FC.
He was at a time voted as among the most famous prophets. Joshua made prophesies that came to pass just as he said them. An isolated case was the Malaysian Airlines MH370 event in 2014.
Prophet Joshua’s exploits in ministration and care of the needy have not gone unnoticed. He received the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) by the Nigerian government in 2008 and was voted the Yoruba man of the decade by Pan-Yoruba media outlet, Irohin-Odua. He had been called one of Africa’s 50 most influential people by Pan-African magazines, The Africa Report and New African Magazine.
Forbes, in 2011, reported that Prophet Joshua was Nigeria’s third-richest pastor, although the church denied the claim.
Prophet Joshua was married to Evelyn Joshua, and they are blessed with three children among whom are Serah and Promise. A prophetess, Evelyn is today the general overseer of SCOAN, stepping into the big shoes left by the Prophet.
While many saw him as controversial, the Prophet continued to wax stronger in the service of God and humanity. It’s two years since his death, yet his legacies remained evergreen. Even in death, his name continues to draw followers and philanthropic
May his soul continue to enjoy eternal!
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