Abductors of Professor Kamene Okonjo, the 82year old mother of Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala assured that the Octogenarian is safe and in secured hands but making a whopping $1Billion ransom to secure her release.
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State has promised a 24hour rescue ordering the State Police to live up to its responsibility by securing the life of the aged medical professor.
According to sources, the demand for the staggering sum was communicated to the family of the octogenarian on Monday morning.
Professor Kamene Okonjo was abducted by gunmen at their family home in Ogwashi uku, Delta state yesterday while frantic efforts are being made by the nation’s security to rescue the University Professor and medical doctor.
According to sources, the kidnappers, in a very short message to the victim’s family, said the woman was safe and well secured but that the family must, as a matter of urgency, raise the said amount to facilitate her freedom or they would create a national upset .
Okonjo-Iweala has not reacted to the development but she had, in her confirmation of the incident, wondered if those behind the kidnap are the same people who had been threatening her of late or other elements with hostile motives.
The police in Delta State launched a frantic search for the Professor on Sunday night with police and detectives has started a psychological scanning of the Ogwashi-Uku , the home village where the Octogenarian was kidnapped.
Already, the police have arrested a man in connection with the kidnap.
Delta State governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan paying a sympathy vist to Okonjo family home and the people of Ogwashi-Uku urged the royal family not to take the laws into their hands assuring that the Government was capable of the challenges ahead in fishing out the abductor and the popular Queen of the kingdom.
Besides, he assured the royal family of Professor Obi Chukwuka Okonjo and the entire people of Ogwashi-Uku that Prof. Kamene Okonjo would be returned safely and in good state of health.
The Governor, who gave the charge Monday at Ogwashi-Uku when he visited the family in the palace, stated that law enforcement agencies in the state were already in the field gathering information as well as tracking down the perpetrators to ensure her safe return.
In particular, he enjoined the community leaders, vigilante groups and the entire Ogwashi-Uku community not to endanger the life of the adopted professor by action irrationally warning any village initiative in rescuing the lady could be detrimental.
The Governor had earlier pledged on Channels TV that he had given an order to the state police for the rescue of Professor Kamene Okonjo within 24 hours.
Professor Okonjo, wife of Professor Ukachukwu Okonjo, a professor of economics and also the traditional ruler of Ogwashi-Ukwu in Delta State, was kidnapped by about 10 armed men in her husband’s palace yesterday.
Uduaghan, whose state has witnessed a series of high profile abductions, did not give details.
“I have given the orders that she (Professor Mrs Kamene Okonjo), must be fished out within the next 24 hours,” he said on Channels TV Sunrise Breakfast programme today.
Meanwhile, a son of the victim, Mr. Onyema Okonjo has said that his aged mother would not have been kidnapped were it not for security lapses.
Speaking at the family compound, he said: “They came in two green Golf cars and it all happened very quickly. I think there were definitely some lapses in terms of security. It is not what it should have been, the people that were supposed to have been here were not here.
“This gave them the opportunity to do what they wanted to do. But at the end of the day, we really have to be prayerful. I think it is really a sad reflection of where we are as a society.”
“I think there were definitely some lapses in terms of security,” said Onyema, who recalled that his father, Prof. Chukwuka Okonjo, the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku and Dr. Okonjo-Iweala were on their way to Ogwashi-Uku when the incident happened.
“It is not what it should have been; the people that were supposed to have been here were not here. This gave them the opportunity to do what they wanted to do, but at the end of the day; we really have to be prayerful.”