Several Nigerians have criticised Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former minister of Petroleum Resources, for saying that online fraudsters, better known as “yahoo boys”, have become role models.
At a virtual conference organised by the umbrella body of Ijaw cultural associations known as the Ijaw Nation Development Group (INDG) on Friday, Diezani said the respect accorded to internet fraudsters is a reflection of the degeneration of societal values in the country.
The event was also attended her former boss, former president Goodluck Jonathan, with the video of the event published on Twitter by Jackson Ude, the publisher of Point Blank News.
The former minister emphasised the importance of mentorship for young people, saying only hard work could guarantee success.
She said: “The ones that have swag, the Yahoo Yahoo boys as my son would say; these in short, are the role models they are looking at. These are the ones that reinforce negative societal norms and values.
“This is a travesty of an unfolding tragedy for us. Why have I spent time talking about fatherless homes and the impact it has on our children? The truth of the matter is that an irresponsible boy tends to become an irresponsible man and it is therefore a vicious cycle. If you plant yam, you cannot harvest plantain.”
Diezani added that there are no shortcuts to progressing in life for individuals, noting that people must in hard work in their endeavours.
“There are no shortcuts to working your way up the ladder of life. Progressing in life, in work and relationships – marital or otherwise – is always dependent on consistent effort and hard work.
“As we create more responsible young men, we will generate more responsible fathers which will in turn engender a more sustainable society and build a greater nation of successful Ijaw men and women.”
However, Diezani’s comments did not go down well with several Nigerians, who took to the social media and denounced her for what they perceived as hypocrisy.
Many of the commentators lamented that the former minister, who is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, for alleged fraud running into billions of dollars, has been living in the United Kingdom since 2015 and refused to return back to the country to face trial.
The ex-minister had relocated to London shortly before former Jonathan handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
The EFCC commenced a process to extradite her but has been unsuccessful to this point.
See the comments on Nigerians reacting to Diezani’s comments on Twitter below:
Yahoo Yahoo is a cyber crime (no doubt)
What do you call someone who steals from the National Treasury?
And mummy Diezani you are a role model too oh.#EBeThings
— Safety Ebuka (@Kingcefo) August 10, 2020
If Diezani Alison-Madueke really wants to pontificate about how the growing acceptance of 'Yahoo Boys' is "a travesty of an unfolding tragedy for us", I'd sincerely like her to fly into Nigeria after the airspace lockdown to say it to us physically.
Do it with your chest, madam.
— 'Fisayo Soyombo (@fisayosoyombo) August 10, 2020
Diezani Armani is a legal Yahoo woman, while others are illegal Yahoo boiz, I think she's trying to encourage them to seek legal backup.🏃🏃
Robber condermning pocket pickers🤣🤣#Yahoo pic.twitter.com/iWoEN5zt6k
— Dei_Dyz 14-11🇳🇬 (@GcEjike) August 10, 2020
Wait, which Diezani? As in Diezani Alison Madueke? 😂😂 Somebody that yahoo boys are learning from. https://t.co/81Jy4dB42P
— BABY (@IreKonge) August 9, 2020
"Yahoo" boys have become role models – Diezani.
😑 Hello guys, the oga pata pata of them all, Yahoo "Hush" Mama has a message for you from Dominica.
— AyeMojubar (@ayemojubar) August 9, 2020
The most intriguing part of that Diezani's interview where she condemned Yahoo:
"Diezani said there are no shortcuts to progressing in life, adding that only hard work could guarantee success."
— Wale Adetona (@iSlimfit) August 9, 2020
Nigerian senior Yahoo ladies are now blaming the junior ones for shinning above them,
The lack of unity in this Yahoo industry is alarming,
Diezani Alison Madueke 😵💔 pic.twitter.com/bit81t55Ru
— Minister (@Miinnister) August 9, 2020
"‘Yahoo boys’ have become role models in Nigerian society." Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Just glad to see her looking radiant and younger compared to the last photograph published by Alagbafo of Nigeria.
— Káyọ̀dé Ògúndámisí (@ogundamisi) August 9, 2020
"There are no shortcoming to progress in life, only hardwork could guarantee success."~ Diezani
God, when are you blowing the trumpet?
— TallJohn🌍 (@JohnFanimokun) August 9, 2020
I have written severally on why i think this administration struck a deal with Diezani & relayed what i was told about how a gang in the villa led by Aisha Buhari extorted corrupt persons eager to avoid prosecution.Diezani has out grown her fear of them.She is now making videos.
— Umar Sa'ad Hassan🇳🇬 (@Alaye_100) August 9, 2020
"Yahoo boys have become role models in Nigerian society" – Diezani
Of all the people in the world, the Ijaw National Development Group settled for Diezani to deliver a talk on the need for mentorship of Ijaw youths.
Looting mentorship kwa?🤔 🤡https://t.co/d8BESqWsUW
— OMO IYA ALAMALA (@sama_on_point) August 10, 2020
‘Yahoo’ boys have become role models, Diezani laments.
Me : tell them that you are there MOTHER!
— Jubril of Sudan till 2023 (@Gen_Buhar) August 9, 2020
#Yahoo I woke up to see yahoo trending and it's such a surprise to me to see that Diezani Madueke who has been on exile is the one that actually started it. Holyshit!!! EFCC still find you madam pic.twitter.com/DPXcuYkgpz
— General OBlack (@OblackHadzan) August 10, 2020
Diezani Madueke & her PR team desperately trying to change history right under our nose, trying to be sanctimonious and shit.
Really laughable though, the sheer audacity and guts to be a criminal who escaped justice, buying citizenship in Dominica, and acting like all is well. pic.twitter.com/8r9LI8n53S
— Adeda (@tosinadeda) August 10, 2020
You waited till Kashamu died before professing values?
Well, Diezani is now preaching against Yahoo boys and Deji Adeyanju is now an activist, thanks to Buhari who's resetting brains to factory settings https://t.co/5MNcYE1lVt pic.twitter.com/XP24GyodKo
— Souljah (@jeffphilips1) August 10, 2020
Diezani represents the cognitive dissonance so many exhibit. They will steal their nation's life & limb, get themselves buffered from the long arms of the law, act as though they are victims if someone points it out, and preach to the high heavens on what is wrong with Nigeria.
— Asiya R., Queen of Æ (@AsiyaRodrigo) August 10, 2020
Diezani dey call people yahoo boy? This life is not balanced https://t.co/kfGuU5BvTQ
— Olúyẹmí Fásípè 🇳🇬 (@YemieFASH) August 10, 2020