Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Kamene Okonjo, the 83-year-old mother of Nigerian Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was abducted from her home on Sunday by a gang of armed men.The Finance Minister is a respected economist in her own right. She previously served as the Managing-Director of the World and was on the short list to lead the agency, which eventually was awarded to Jim Yong Kim. She has worked extensively to establish transparency in Nigeria, particularly in regards to fuel subsidies received by importers.
The victim’s daughter is not the only one in the family in politics. Her husband, Obi Chukwuka Okonjo Agbogidi, is considered the traditional ruler of a region in the oil-rich Delta State. He and Kamene are both retired professors.
BBC correspondent Will Ross reports that “kidnappings are so common in the country that they rarely make front page news” but an increasing number of businessmen and academics have been victims, whereas foreign oil workers had been targeted in the past.
Ikechukwu Aduba, the Police Commissioner in the Delta State, says that there is always an insider which helps facilitate every kidnapping.
Emmanuel Uduaghan, the Governor of Delta State, guaranteed today that Ms. Okonjo will be rescued within 24 hours.
It is unknown if the kidnapping took place for monetary gain or political purposes. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s battle against corruption has made her the target of a litany of death threats.