Diezani Alison-Madueke, former minister of petroleum resources, on Friday filed a libel suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) demanding to be paid damages of N100 billion over claims that she is corrupt.
In a writ of summons filed on her behalf at a federal high court sitting in Abuja by a team of lawyers led by Mike Ozekhome, a senior advocate, on May 26, 2023, Alison-Madueke also demanded that the EFCC and the AGF should be compelled to apologise to her in three national newspapers “for the false, injurious, malicious and libelous publications” against her since 2015 when she left the country.
She listed statements and publications issued by the EFCC which she said were intended to lower her reputation and integrity and which she said did indeed lower her reputation and integrity “in the estimation of right-thinking members of the society within and outside Nigeria” and also brought her into “public ridicule, odium, contempt, derision and obloquy”.
The defamatory reports, as she claimed in the suit marked CV/6273/2023, are:
A publication on December 16, 2021, “Diezani: EFCC uncovers additional $72.8 million in Bank”
A publication on August 8, 2017, “Unbelievable!!! EFCC traces N47.2 Billion, $487.5 Million to ex-Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke”
A publication, “By virtue of an order of the Federal High Court of Nigeria sitting in Abuja, Diezani Alison Madueke, had forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the sum of $40,000,000.00 (forty million dollars) only, which jewelleries were found and recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the premises of the Respondent (Alison-Madueke) and reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of the Respondent’s unlawful activities”, made by the court on January 24, 2022, relying on the “false information” made available to the court by the EFCC in a court process dated and filed on July 4, 2019, and widely published in the media.
A publication titled “By virtue of an order of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, sitting in Abuja, the Prosecution Counsel to liaise with the office of the Attorney General of the Federation towards the extradition of the Defendant”, made by the court on October 28, 2020, relying on the “false information” made available to the court by the EFCC in a court process dated and filed on November 13, 2018, and widely published in the media.
Claims and publication made by the EFCC on December 16, 2021 to the effect that it had uncovered an additional $72.8 Million in a bank purportedly belonging to her.
A “false and defamatory statement” made by the EFCC and concerning her on or about February 17, 2022 to the effect that she should be extradited for stealing a sum of $2.5 billion belonging to the Nigerian government.
A “false and defamatory statement” made by the EFCC concerning her on or about August 8, 2017, to the effect that she has embezzled the sum of 2Billion belonging to the Nigerian government.
The EFCC and AGF were given 14 days from the service of the summons to enter their defence.
Alison-Madueke was minister of transportation (and later mines and steel development) from 2007 to 2009 under President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua before serving as petroleum minister under President Goodluck Jonathan from 2010 to 2015.