Diezani Alison-Madueke‘s family’s lawyer, Oscar Onwudiwe, has responded to the recent controversies surrounding the embattled minister.
Here is what Onwudiwe said via a statement, according to ThisDay:
On reports about Diezani’s arrest
This may be because they know the stories are false but it feeds the mood of the moment; hence, the silence from Diezani all along. It is worth emphasising that Mrs Alison-Madueke was never arrested or detained and her passport was never seized. She was merely invited, and she honoured it promptly.
…but there is a limit to how much any reasonable person can bear the tactics of these cyber terrorists. We all know that what makes a lie fly is the little truth contained therein. This happens to be the weapon used by most online news media to feed their weird obsession with defaming highly placed people.
On allegations that Diezani attempted to purchase a £13 billion property on Hyde Park Street in London
This claim is utterly false and laughable, for the amounts mentioned are only in the imagination of the reporters. This property is quite popular. It belongs to a well-known eminently successful Nigerian entrepreneur who would also find this allegation embarrassing as the intention to sell the property has neither been contemplated nor disclosed to any person.
On Diezani’s cancer treatment
The Madueke family, like most other families, has its own challenges. For instance, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has been receiving treatment for cancer in the UK which started while she was in office. The health crisis has unfortunately exacerbated in recent times.
She completed months of chemotherapy just last week and she is scheduled to undergo surgery next week in London. The family has been bearing this challenge with prayers and as much grace and fortitude as possible; and would plead with all reasonable Nigerians to pray for her recovery so that she can face this allegation and give account of her stewardship. Yes, she can—and very well, too
On reports that Diezani’s step son, Ugonna, owns three properties
The USA is a country which runs on transparency, accountability and technology. A little honest effort by the online news media would have provided in a few minutes the true ownership of the properties at issue.
The 11711 Scooter Lane (a three-bedroom town house) in Fairfax, Virginia, was acquired by the Madueke family in 1997 when Ugonna was only 10 years old.
records available to the appropriate authorities in the United States can also confirm that 13116 Silver Maple Court in Bowie, Maryland, USA belongs to an uncle of the Madueke siblings and was purchased in 1995 when Ugonna was only eight years old.
As a student of the University of Maryland in 2002, Ugonna stayed with his uncle at the said address. All of this was before Mrs. Diezani was appointed to government office.
It is evident that what the online news media did was to turn on an internet search engine and maliciously reported that every property where Ugonna Madueke has ever lived in the United States or used as his address must belong to him. The description of the properties as posh was the icing on the propaganda cake. This is not only unprofessional, as it offends the tenets of journalism, it is clearly not in resonance with good conscience.
On allegations that Ugonna and his cousins registered Hadley Petroleum Solutions Limited which they used to deal in Nigerian crude oil sales
As young men bubbling with enthusiasm and fantasy, they actually registered a company but after two years of no jobs, the company folded up.
The company never had a bank account, let alone being a trader of Nigeria’s crude oil.
On reports that Beatrice Agama, Diezani’s 81-year-old mother owns a house in the United Kingdom
Mrs. Agama has no house or property in the United Kingdom.
She has been staying in a rented two-bedroom flat from where she is receiving medical attention for a broken femur.
Her son, Timi Agama, who has been living in the UK for decades, used to have a house in the UK long before his sister was appointed to government and he sold it long ago.
Since then, he has no house in the UK. Archbishop Doye Agama of the Apostolic Pastoral Congress in Manchester, who is in his 60s, is a successful professional and consultant well known amongst his peers, but he does not own Unit 8 Quebec Building in Manchester which the online newspaper ascribed to him.
According to the report “their lawyer added that the Madueke family had taken a decision on how to appropriately deal with those who are on a mission to soil their hard-earned family name.”