Maintenance. We are currently updating the site. Please check back shortly

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Inform - Connect - Empower

Nigerian finance minister's mother kidnapped

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Sun, 9 Dec 2012 22:00 GMT
Author: Reuters
Tweet Recommend Google + LinkedIn Email Print
Leave us a comment

(Adds statement by minister's adviser)

By Tim Cocks and Camillus Eboh

ABUJA, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Kidnappers snatched the mother of Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from her home in southeast Nigeria on Sunday, security sources and the minister's senior aide said.

The abductors took the septuagenarian Kamene Okonjo from the family home in Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, the minister's special adviser Paul Nwabuikwu said in a statement. Okonjo is the wife of the traditional ruler of Ogwashi-Uku.

"At this point, it is difficult to say whether those behind this action are the same people who have made threats against the Coordinating Minister (Okonjo-Iweala) in the recent past or other elements with hostile motives," he said.

"No possibility can be ruled out at this point."

A security source said it was not clear whether the motive was political or ransom-seeking. The source in Abuja said three people had already been arrested in connection with the kidnapping. He had no further details.

Nigeria is one of the worst countries in the world for kidnapping, a lucrative criminal enterprise worth millions of dollars a year. Abductions are most rife in the oil states, especially Delta state, where Okonjo-Iweala's family is from, but they are also common throughout the south, including in the commercial capital Lagos.

Kidnapping for political reasons is less common, though it does occur. Gangs operate throughout the Niger Delta, which is home to Africa's largest oil industry. The majority of people abducted are Nigerians but foreign oil and construction workers have also been frequent targets.

Local newspapers carry a story about a new kidnapping almost every day, often of professionals or relatives of politicians, but rarely anyone as high profile as the finance minister's mother.

"This is obviously a very difficult time for the entire Okonjo family. But the family is hopeful of a positive outcome as it fervently prays for the quick and safe return of the matriarch," Nwabuikwu said. (Editing by Stephen Powell)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more information see our Acceptable Use Policy.

comments powered by Disqus
Most Popular
LATEST SLIDESHOW

Latest slideshow

See allSee all
FEATURED JOBS
Featured jobs