The kidnapping was confirmed and reported in a statement released on Sunday 8th December 2012 by the ministry of Finance. The statement read: “Earlier today, Professor (Mrs) Kamene Okonjo … mother of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was abducted from her home in Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State”.
While the Nigerian Police is looking at what must have happened and the rationale behind the kidnapping of Professor (Mrs) Kamene Okonjo, the Finance Ministry spokesman Paul Nwabuikwu said the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had received threats in the past.
The Finance Ministry spokesman said: “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 in the recent past or other elements with hostile motives. No possibility can be ruled out at this point.
According to official sources, Mrs Okonjo, 82, is a medical doctor and retired professor of sociology at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Her husband is Chief Obi Chukwuka Okonjo Agbogidi, a retired professor of economics and the traditional ruler of the Ogwashi-Uku kingdom in Delta State.
At this point, according to security sources, it was not clear whether the motive was political or an attempt to seek for ransom (money).
Since the kidnapping and the publication of this story, African Celebrities Magazine has learnt that three people have already been arrested in connection with the kidnapping. There are decisions being made and actions taken to resolve this issue as fast as possible.
In Southern Nigeria, according to media and security sources, there have been very frequent kidnappings for ransom in the oil-producing Niger Delta region. It is believed that Local newspapers carry at least one story about a new kidnapping almost every day. Individuals kidnapped are often professionals or relatives of politicians. The kidnapping of the Finance Minister’s mother is registered as one of the rare cases where a relative of someone with such a high profile has taken place.
Earlier this year, Dr. (Mrs.) Okonjo-Iweala was viewed as a strong candidate to head the World Bank, where she had previously worked as a managing director. The post was instead filled by Korean-American physician Jim Yong Kim.