Admiral Alison Madueke, a former Chief of Naval Staff, has petitioned the Lagos State High Court to declare his marriage to Diezani Madueke, the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, legally over and to prevent her from using his surname. He is requesting that Diezani revert to her maiden name, Agama.

In his petition for jactitation of marriage, Admiral Madueke argues that Diezani’s continued use of his name is damaging his reputation, especially given the corruption allegations against her. He asserts that their marriage, which began on June 30, 1999, under the Marriage Act, was dissolved by the Nassarawa State High Court in Mararaba Gurku in April 2022 following Diezani’s filing for divorce in November 2021.

Madueke, who did not oppose the divorce, noted that despite the legal dissolution of their marriage, Diezani persists in using his name. He stated, “On the 13th day of April 2022, judgment was delivered in Suit No. NSD/MG345/2021 by Hon. Justice A.A. Ozegya dissolving the marriage between the petitioner and the respondent on the ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The said dissolution of marriage has now become absolute by the operation of law.”

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Despite this, Diezani continues to use the Madueke name, which Madueke claims is causing him embarrassment and could potentially lead to mistaken liability. On December 14, 2023, his legal representatives formally requested that she cease using his surname, but she has not responded and continues to use it.

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Madueke’s petition further reads, “The respondent has continued to hold out herself as the wife of the petitioner even when the marriage has been dissolved. The respondent is undergoing criminal trials in both Nigeria and the United Kingdom. The charge in Nigeria is Suit No. FUC/ABI/CR/208/2010. The respondent faces public allegations of corruption and financial misconduct, for which trials are ongoing for both. The persistent portrayal of the respondent as the spouse of the petitioner is creating embarrassment, a misleading impression and tarnishing the reputation, integrity, and public image of the petitioner.”

Admiral Madueke is seeking a perpetual injunction to prevent Diezani from using his names, asserting the existence of their marriage, and posing any significant risk of legal and financial harm to him. He also wants the court to compel Diezani to revert to her maiden name and publicly announce in both Nigeria and the UK that she has ceased using his surname.

Diezani has held significant government positions, including Minister of Transportation, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, and Minister of Petroleum Resources. She was also the first female President of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), elected in November 2014. However, during her tenure from 2010 to 2015 under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, she faced accusations from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of embezzling $2.5 billion from the Nigerian government, leading to her arrest and ongoing legal proceedings in both Nigeria and the UK.

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