Two policemen have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of Finance Minister’s 82-year-old mother, the police said on Wednesday.Professor Kamene Okonjo, mother of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is the Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister of the economy was abducted on Sunday from her home in Ogwuachi-Uku, Delta state.
Delta State Police Commissioner Ikechukwu Aduba said the policemen had been arrested on suspicion of having aided the kidnappers.
“It is a very sad development and our major concern now is to rescue Mama unhurt,” Aduba told Reuters by phone.
Mr Aduba further denied any knowledge of ransom being demanded by the kidnappers.
“I’m not aware the kidnappers are demanding ransom and even if they are, the police cannot get involved as that would be a signal for others to continue (abductions),” Aduba said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Police Affairs; Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (RTD.) has instructed Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar to deploy Special Police Officers from the Force headquarters, Abuja to assist in locating and freeing Prof. Okonjo from her captors.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day workshop on ‘Budgeting for Effective Policing in Nigeria ’, the minister said: “It is a very disturbing issue and in unraveling this matter, the police must take into cognisance that we have a role to let others know that such incidents will be given equal treatment. It could have been the mother of anybody’.
“Already, the IGP has deployed his men and they are working round the clock on the issue. The IG is on top of the situation. However, I have instructed the IGP to deploy specialist officers from Abuja if need be to help in fishing out the culprits”.
The palace of the Obi of Ogwuashi-Uku has been surrounded by policemen since the abduction on Sunday.
Police said someone purporting to be one of the kidnappers phoned on Monday to make some demands, but it was impossible to say whether the call was genuine.
“We have to identify the source of the call … Anybody can make spurious calls and demands,” said Delta State police spokesman Sergie Ezegam, without giving details of who was contacted or what was demanded.
“We still don’t know the reason for her abduction. What we know is that this is a crime, the woman’s life is in danger and we are making frantic efforts to rescue her,” he added.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has received threats in the past, her special adviser Paul Nwabuikwu said on Sunday.