Diezani Alison-Madeuke, president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, was arrested in London this morning by British authorities, several sources told Reuters. Four others were also detained.
Nigerian newspaper Premium Times said the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency arrested Alison-Madeuke for crimes related to bribery and corruption.
Before taking on the top position at OPEC, Alison-Madeuke served as Nigeria’s petroleum minister under President Goodluck Jonathan.
Will Diezani's arrest have an impact on the manner in which political office-holders in this administration conduct themselves? — Lola Shoneyin (@lolashoneyin)
October 2, 201
However, the British authorities did not confirm or deny the arrest. A statement from the British High Commission in the Nigerian capital Abuja said only that five people between the ages of 21 and 60 had been arrested on suspicion of bribery and corruption offenses on Friday morning.
"The crimes are being investigated by the National Crime Agency," the statement said. It did not name any of those arrested.
In the past few years, Alison-Madueke has become a controversial figure in the oil industry, accused of reckless spending, mismanagement of the oil sector and using millions of dollars in public funds to pay for personal items and private jets.
Under Alison-Madueke’s watch, Nigeria’s state-owned oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, allegedly stole billions of dollars from state coffers.
Many in Nigeria expected her to be arrested. President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in May, had vowed to crackdown on the culture of corruption within government institutions and to recover funds looted from the state.
Meanwhile, Diezani is the OPEC President! Biggest embarrassment to all oil producing countries!!! — sHaKiTi BobO (@Tesojue_1)
October 2, 201