Posted by News Express | 14 December 2012 | 3,398 times
Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister for the Economy/Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, minutes ago hailed the country’s security operatives for safely rescuing her 82-year-old mother, who was taken away by kidnappers on Sunday, Dec. 9. She thanked the “security services for their excellent operations” while confirming the release of Professor (Mrs.) Kamene Okonjo, the Queen Mother of Ogwashi-Uku in Delta State, South-South Nigeria.
“I can confirm that Professor Mrs Kamene Okonjo, wife of the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku, Professor Chukuka Okonjo and mother of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy/Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was released this morning, five days after her abduction,” the Finance Minister said shortly before noon through her Special Adviser, Mr. Paul C Nwabuikwu.
“The Okonjo Family is full of thanks to the Almighty for this happy development,” the statement said, adding: “The family is also highly appreciative of the support and encouragement of President Goodluck Jonathan; the Country’s security services for their excellent operations; Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta, Peter Obi of Anambra, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers and other Governors as well other friends and well wishers within and outside government for their prayers and encouragement during a very difficult period. May God bless you all.”
News Express reports that the minister’s mother was taken away from the palace in the absence of her husband by 10 armed men around 1:47 p.m. on Sunday, resulting in a siege on Ogwashi-Uku by security operatives desperate to secure her release. The operation led to the arrest of 63 people but details of how Prof. Okonjo was freed remain to be disclosed. It’s not clear if any ransom was paid, although the kidnappers demanded N1 billion, which they later scaled down to N200 million.
Kidnapping is rampant in Nigeria’s South-South and South-East, with most victims preferring to pay a ransom than go public with their ordeal.
•Photo: Prof. Okonjo is free again.
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