Nigerian leaders are known for looting public funds to enrich themselves and store up riches for their unborn generations. Majority of this is done by male leaders, because they occupy most notable positions. However, a few Nigerian women have entered the list of corrupt leaders due to one or two money laundering scandals they were involved in. Over the years we have had some of these corruption scandals go viral on the internet and newspapers across the nation, and these women listed in this article are the top five prominent women whose corruption scandals shook Nigeria.
5. Iyabo Obasanjo
N300 Million Money Laundering Scandal
Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello is the daughter of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. She is a highly educated veterinarian doctor from the University of Ibadan, and has a Masters degree from University of California, and a PhD also. In 2008, EFFC charged her to court over a N300 million unspent budget of the federal Ministry of Health. She urged the court to quash the charges on the grounds that the N10 million allegedly given to her by the Ministry of Health was spent on the Senate Committee on Health members as bribe. She and her colleagues also collected N500, 000 each and an all expenses paid trip for a seminar in an exquisite hotel in Ghana which they all attended except two members who were not interested in the scheme.
4. Stella Oduah
N255 million BMW Scandal
Before Princess Stella Oduah-Ogiemwonyi was the Nigerian Minister of Aviation, she was active in the political campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan, where she served as his campaign’s Director of Administration and Finance. Stella Oduah has been involved in numerous controversies ranging from highly inflated purchase of BMW bullet-proof cars without following due process, as well as allegations of fake MBA degree certificate supposedly obtained from St Paul’s College.
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There were outcries and feelings of outrage by Nigerians when they learnt of Stella’s illegal purchase of bulletproof cars worth N255 million. According to news reports, the minister requested that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority purchase bulletproof cars for her following threats to her life. A committee was set up by former President Goodluck Jonathan, to look into the matter and a major recommendation of the Aviation committee was adopted. The EFCC was also on Stella’s neck as she was under interrogatory arrest for a while.
3. Patricia Olubunmi Etteh
N628 Million Naira Money Laundering
She was the first female Speaker of the Nigerian House of representatives from June till October 2007. She is a trained hairdresser, beauty therapist, and also is a law graduate from the University of Abuja. In September 2007, she was accused of allegedly spending N628 million Naira on renovations of her official residence and that of her deputy, and also bought 12 official cars for the House of Representatives. In her testimony, Etteh had claimed that it was N238 million that was allocated for the renovation of her house and that was what was used. Prominent Nigerians including Nobel Laureate winner Wole Soyinka, called for her resignation and after weeks of pressure she finally resigned on October 30 2007.
2. Dr. Ndidi Okereke
Money Laundering Scandal
Former Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mrs. Ndidi Okereke– Onyiuke was accused of misappropriation of funds and carried out fraudulent transactions which includes the purchase of N186 million worth of wristwatches without proper accounts and a yacht for N39 million. In her defence, she explained that the watches were bought for awardees who had spent 48 years in the Stock Exchange, and also that the expenditure was approved at the Annual General Meeting of the NSE, after it had also adopted the audited accounts of the organisation. Under her leadership, there was the misappropriation of funds of over N1.5 billion which almost led to the crash of the Nigerian Stock Exchange market in 2009.
1. Cecilia Ibru
Multi-billion Money Laundering Scandal
Former managing director of Oceanic Bank International, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru is said to be involved in one of the biggest female corruption scandals in the history of Nigeria. She joined Oceanic Bank as General Manager, Administration and Personnel, later becoming Executive Director, Finance and Administration In 1990 and became the bank’s MD/CEO in 1997. She was charged with money laundering of N15 billion and about 120 other offences, including insider trading, wire fraud, abuse of office, fraudulent abuse of process of award of facilities and fraudulent manipulation of the capital markets. She pleaded guilty to the three-count charge and was consequently sentenced to 18 months imprisonment as well as the forfeiture of over N191 billion in cash and assets to the government.