Okonjo-Iweala’s mother is freed

Channels Television  
Updated December 14, 2012

Kamene Okonjo, the mother of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was kidnapped five days ago, has been released.

The news of the finance Minister’s mom was confirmed by the governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan in an interview with the BBC.

Mr Uduaghan said the captors of Mrs Okonjo dropped her off at about 10:30am on Friday morning on the main road along her residence.

He said the kidnappers had probably decided to let her go because they were under pressure.

“The army and police have been on their trail and a lot of raids have been done. I think because of the heat they dropped her off on the highway,” Mr Uduaghan said.

The governor denied that any ransom was paid for Mrs Okonjo’s release, claiming it was not government policy to pay ransoms but families sometimes negotiate with the kidnappers privately.

“For this one we also insisted that we would not pay any ransom [and] as a government we would not negotiate with anybody,” he said.

He also revealed that a young man who had dropped Mrs Okonjo has been arrested and is being questioned.

63 people were reportedly arrested in raids conducted during the five days search for the Minister’s mom.

The Minister, through a statement signed by her Special Adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, confirmed that “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 statement added that: “the Okonjo Family is full of thanks to the Almighty for this happy development.”

The family through the statement said they are “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. “