[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
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
join our mailing list