Former Nigerian pretroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke is to return to the country on 27 November to visit a Lagos-based controversial preacher. Alison-Madueke, 54, was arrested in London in October on suspicion of bribery and money laundering and was was subsequently released on bail.
Alison-Madueke's lawyer denied allegations that her client's passport had been seized and explained she had gone to the UK to seek treatment for breast cancer. However, the former minister, who called on Nigerians to pray for her in the fight against the disease, has not been responding to treatments lately and decided to go home.
Alison-Madueke and her family are to visit popular preacher and televangelist Temitope Balogun Joshua – known as TB Joshua – according to the Daily Post, which quoted a source as saying: "They have decided to fly her back into the country this Friday to seek for spiritual help. The condition worsened last weekend and she personally asked the family to return her to the country.
"She has not tasted any solid food since last Monday. She did not speak throughout Thursday. When she eventually spoke on Friday morning, she ordered them to return her to the country to visit Prophet TB Joshua for prayers."
Self-proclaimed prophet TB Joshua is the leader and founder of The Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan) in Lagos and has hundreds of thousands of followers in Nigeria and other countries. His YouTube channel, Emmanuel TV, has more than 260,000 subscribers.
Bribery and money laundering allegations
Alison-Madueke, who became the first female president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) in 2014, was arrested days after Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari appointed himself as the country's oil minister, after he vowed he would recover millions of dollars worth of funds he alleged were stolen during previous administrations.
Alison-Madueke was appointed as minister of petroleum resources in 2010 and held the post until April 2015. While she was in office, former governor of Nigeria Central Bank Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was suspended after he claimed $20bn (£12bn) of oil revenue "went missing" from state oil company Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
According to the Premium Times, Alison-Madueke – who has been dubbed "one of the most powerful officials of President Goodluck Jonathan" – admitted to spending $3.5bn of Nigeria's money without budgetary approval in February 2014.
Makuende denied she took money from the country's treasury, contrary to some reports and said that while Nigeria's oil minister is influent, the NNPC has more power in the decision-making process.