Accused of graft, Diezani says ‘Yahoo yahoo’ boys have become role models
Former Nigerian minister of petroleum resources Diezani Alison-Madueke on Sunday lamented how values are fast eroding in Nigeria due to the activities of internet fraudsters aka “Yahoo Yahoo boys” in the country.
Popularly referred by her first name, the minister herself is facing allegations of bribery and money laundering in London and Nigeria.
Although the long-running British probe into Diezani has yet to yield any charges, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has pending corruption charges her. Some of of the properties linked to her have been forfeited to the Nigerian government.
The former minister said at a virtual event organised by Ijaw National Development Group that things have degenerated to the extent that “Yahoo Yahoo boys” are respected in the society. Footages from the event were posted to Twitter by Jackson Ude, the publisher of Point Blank News.
“The ones that have swag, the Yahoo Yahoo boys as my son would say; these in short, are the role models they are looking at. These are the ones that reinforce negative societal norms and values,” Diezani said.
“This is a travesty of an unfolding tragedy for us. Why have I spent time talking about fatherless homes and the impact it has on our children? The truth of the matter is that an irresponsible boy tends to become an irresponsible man and it is, therefore, a vicious cycle. If you plant yam, you cannot harvest plantain.”
She highlighted the importance of mentorship for young people, saying only hard work could guarantee success.
The ex-minister had relocated to London shortly before former President Goodluck Jonathan handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
Later that year, Alison-Madueke was allegedly arrested and grilled at the Charing Cross Police Station in London.
However, a police spokesman in London told Reuters that he had no record of such an arrest. The National Crime Agency, in a short statement on its website, said its International Corruption Unit had arrested five people across London on suspicion of bribery and corruption offences that day without naming the suspects.
But BBC, quoting a family source, confirmed she was arrested.
The Westminster magistrate court subsequently granted her bail but seized her passport while she was asked to report at the station at a later date. The court had seized £27, 000 from her, while the agency applied for three separate cash detentions in the names of Diezani, Beatrice Agama (her mother) and Melanie Spencer, a Swiss national.
During her ordeal in the UK, EFCC carried out a search on her Asokoro, Abuja, residence.
Suspended EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu in February said she allegedly stolen so much money that she needed to be extradited to the country to return the mone to the federal government.
“I was in London this year; we did investigation together with the UK team, and anywhere I go, I always call for extradition of corrupt Nigerians to return back the money,” Magu said.
“This woman has stolen so much, not less than $2.5 billion, but unfortunately she has a generation of looters who are supporting her. This is not good.”
“We are in touch with the international community, she is under protective custody, otherwise, we would have arrested her, return her to Nigeria,” he added.
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