Prof. Kanene Okonjo, mother of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was on Sunday abducted at the gate of the palace of the traditional ruler of Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, Prof. Chukwuka Okonjo, who is her husband.
The 82-year-old monarch’s wife was said to have been abducted at about 1.47pm by a gang of armed men who seized her at the gate of the palace at Ogbe-ofu and took her away, when her husband traveled out of the town.
But the Police command in the state has said a man, who was said to have left the palace a few minutes before the incident, had been arrested.
The man was said to have informed the housemaid that he was in the palace to take the octogenarian to somewhere in the town.
Prof. Kanene Okonjo
The kidnappers, numbering about 10, were said to be lurking around the palace until the woman and her maid came down to offer some drinks to workers at the gate.
Eyewitness said as soon as the woman came down from the main building, towards the gate, the criminals also moved in from the gate to grab and push her into a waiting Golf Volkswagen car.
A source said, “The abductors were heavily armed. They were about 10. They bailed up the men fixing the interlocking tiles and asked them to lie face down.
“Immediately they saw her (the King’s wife) they bundled her into a waiting Golf car while another car was parked outside.”
It was learnt that one of them went upstairs to collect the woman’s handbag. The eyewitness said another maid, who sighted the kidnappers upstairs, hid herself in the kitchen.
The atmosphere at the palace was gloomy on Sunday as many sympathizers and well-wishers, including members of the community vigilance group, gathered to discuss the development.
State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Charles Muoka, who confirmed the kidnap to our correspondent on telephone on Sunday, said the police had collected information that would be useful enough to track down the kidnappers.
Her husband, Obi Chukwuka Okonjo, a retired professor of Economics, is the traditional ruler of Ogwashi-Uku.
The kidnappers have yet to make contact with the family of their victim.
source: Punch Newspapers