[QODLink]
Africa

Nigeria finance minister's mother kidnapped

It is not clear if the motive behind the abduction of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's mother was political or ransom-seeking.
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 07:19
Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had received threats in the past [EPA]

The mother of Nigerian Finance Minister and former World Bank managing director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been kidnapped from her home in the country's south, a statement from her ministry said.

"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," the statement said on Sunday.

Finance Ministry spokesman Paul Nwabuikwu said the minister had received threats in the past.

"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." Nwabuikwu said.

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.

Frequent kidnappings

Kidnappings for ransom have occurred frequently in Nigeria's southern oil-producing Niger Delta region.

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.

Okonjo-Iweala has pushed to clean up corruption in one of the world's most graft-ridden nations, particularly related to a fuel subsidy programme alleged to be riddled with graft.

The minister has been struggling with fuel importers over payment of subsidies, with government officials delaying payments to allow for verification of claims.

The respected Okonjo-Iweala was earlier this year a candidate to head the World Bank, where she previously worked as a managing director. The job eventually went to Korean-American physician Jim Yong Kim though the Nigerian minister was viewed as a strong candidate to break the US lock on the post.

Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer with some 160 million people.

323

Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
Treatment for autism in the region has progressed, but lack of awareness and support services remains a challenge.
The past isn't far away for a people exiled from Crimea by Russia and the decades it took to get home.
join our mailing list