ABUJA, Nigeria, April 12 (UPI) -- The first female oil minister for Nigeria has barely one year to overhaul her country's energy sector and the ailing Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.
Nigerian Acting President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Deizani Allison-Madueke as the first female to head the Energy Ministry. The administrative term ends in 13 months, giving her little time to overhaul the NNPC, privatize refineries and renegotiate oil contracts, the Nigerian newspaper Next reports.
If she is successful, the reforms could deliver billions of dollars to government coffers. Political uncertainty and militant activity in the oil-rich Niger Delta region is forcing international oil explorers to move cautiously in Nigeria as domestic production efforts suffer.
Several oil companies, however, have suggested they would invest billions in the Nigerian oil sector if conditions improve.
Jonathan last week replaced NNPC chief Mohammed Barkindo with Shehu Laden, a former head of the national oil company.
The dismissal of Barkindo was viewed by critics of the acting president as an inside move. His opponents said Laden is linked to corruption that has dragged on the Nigerian energy sector.
Madueke, who served as the head of the Nigerian division of Royal Dutch Shell, was linked to a bribery scandal in 2009 stemming from her tenure as transport minister. She was never charged, however.