Kidnappers can’t stop me – Okonjo-Iweala


•Mum rode on okada back home

• Kidnapper shot dead – Police

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that the kidnap and eventual release of her mother will not deter her from pushing forward with national economic reforms.

The Ogwashi-Uku palace, in Delta State erupted in joy on Friday following the return of the Queen, Professor Kanene Okonjo, who was kidnapped last Sunday.

Police said that a motorcycle took the woman to the palace early Friday morning after she regained her freedom from the kidnappers. A palace source and the police, however, said no ransom was paid to secure her release.

Dr (Mrs) Okonjo-Iweala, who was responding to several posts on Tweeter on Friday afternoon, replied those hinting that she would soft-pedal on the fight against subsidy scammers and her push for further reforms of the economy.

Some of the tweets read: ‘I just realised what NOI (Ngozi Okonjo Iweala) is up against. It must be a tough, lonely world to be in this government.’ Another tweet noted ‘Anyway, now they have successful struck fear into her heart. I won’t blame her for treading carefully now’.

Others questioned the source of the alleged ransom paid for the release while some insinuated that the kidnap was meant to stop the minister in her reforms, especially in the management of the fuel subsidy.

The minister, who is also on twitter, however, responded sharply: “Far from being afraid, I have been made stronger by this experience. I refuse to be intimidated.”`

But addressing journalists on Friday, in Asaba, the state Commissioner of Police, Ikechukwu Aduba, said the leader of Prof Okonjo’s kidnappers, identified as Nwose Nwanze, a native of Asaba, was killed while four others were arrested. The police gave their names as Hard drug, Tsetsefly, Tipperboy and Bright.

The two vehicles used in the abduction of the old woman, a Volkswagen Golf with registration number ASB 697 AA and bus with registration number KPP 64XA with inscription ‘Missionary’, God Delight City Church International, were recovered.

The police boss said that the kingpin was shot as he attempted to scale the fence in their hideout in Asaba, and later died at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba.

According to him, the notorious kidnap chief was once arrested and charged to court for the kidnap and murder of Obilink, a petroleum magnate in Asaba, and later released.

Aduba said nobody accompanied Professor Okonjo on the motorcycle to the palace and the rider was unknown.

Security at the palace was further tightened on Friday as journalists were barred from talking to the octogenarian. There are indications, however, that she may have relocated to Abuja to have proper rest.

Meanwhile, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala has reacted to the release of her mother.

According to a statement by Paul Nwabuiko, the Special Adviser to the minister, the queen’s release put an end to what the release called “a very difficult period.”

The statement reads: “I can confirm that Professor (Mrs) Kamene Okonjo, 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 Okonjo family is full of thanks to the Almighty (God) for this happy
development. The family is also 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.”

There was also wild jubilation yesterday at Obomkpa town in Aniocha Local Government Area of the state, when news filtered in that Professor Kamene Okonjo had been released by her abductors.

Obomkpa is the maternal home of the Finance Minister.

The traditional ruler of Obomkpa, Obi Jonathan Nsuebo II was visibly happy about the development.

The state Chairman of the state’s Local Government Service Commission, Chief (Mrs) Patience Okwuofu, who hails from Obomkpa, also expressed gratitude to God for the matriarch’s freedom

Source: Tribune

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