A group of women on Thursday protested against what they described as “undue persecution” of Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The women, under the umbrella of Association of Concerned Nigerian Women, led by its coordinator, Martha Yaduma, said that various allegations being made against the minister were attempts by some people to undermine women’s aptitude in governance.
“We know our right and we will fight for it; we won’t allow men to suppress our propensity. We have to stop this; enough is enough.
“We have done our investigation and we can say that some people were just out to victimise the minister without any just course; all allegations against her are not true.
“What people always do is to bring down a woman whenever she is in a high post but we want to tell Nigerians that we are solidly behind the minister”, Ms. Yaduma said.
The women, who marched to the National Assembly and the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in Abuja said what was happening to Mrs. Alison-Madueke was campaign against women development.
Ms. Yaduma urged the public to wait for the result of other investigations going on over the activities of the ministry “rather than castigating the minister over alleged misappropriation of oil sector funds”.
She said that Nigerian women had come to speak with “one voice in support of the minister”, and appealed to men to give women a chance.
She described the minister as “a hard working woman”, who worked assiduously for the betterment and improvement of the ministry and the oil sector.
“Women believe strongly in the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan and we will not allow political detractors to rub this administration of its glory”, she stressed.
The coordinator noted that Mrs. Alison-Madueke was the first woman to head the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and had recorded great achievements since she assumed office.
She claimed that under her leadership, the oil and gas sector had witnessed a lot of activities and performance that had placed it on a renewed path of growth and sustained development.
At the NNPC headquarters, Omar Ibrahim, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, who received them on behalf of the minister, commended their courage and support for her.
“It is not always easy at this crucial moment to find a group of individuals of your calibre supporting the development at the oil and gas sector.
“It is a demonstration of love to the sector and to the country’s economy as a whole. We believe that with this, Nigerians will begin to understand and see the truth in the oil and gas sector.
“It is our belief that no matter what happened, the truth will always prevail”, he said.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke and the NNPC are being investigated in several alleged fraud cases. They are accused of, among others, spending hundreds of billions on kerosene subsidy without any appropriation and also on private jets for the minister.
The NNPC, under Mrs. Alison-Madueke, has already been indicted in various reports by the National Assembly, the National Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI, and others.