Nigeria’s minister of information and coordinating minister of the economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has narrated the trauma her mother, Kamene Okonjo, passed through for five days in the hands of her abductors.
The minister while thanking Nigerians, the government and the Police, also expressed appreciation to God for bringing her mother back.
“I can’t give all the details because we don’t want to compromise on-going investigations”, she said while speaking for the first time on the kidnap saga. “But I can tell you one thing: My mother suffered a great deal during this ordeal. It was only the Almighty God that rescued her from a situation that could very easily have ended tragically.
“Apart from the emotional trauma of being violently taken away from her family and kept incommunicado for five days in a strange environment, a woman of 83 years was left without food for five days. We give glory to God that she is alive today to tell the tale.
“While she was in their custody, the kidnappers spent much of the time harassing her. They told her that I must get on the radio and television and announce my resignation. When she asked why, they told her it was because I did not pay ‘Oil subsidy money’.
“They also said I had blocked payment of money to certain components of the SURE-P programme.” The minister however denied the claims that she blocked payments for oil subsidy maintaining that all verified claims of oil subsidy were being paid after going through the necessary processes. However she said, “in the case of SURE-P, that is a totally different process that I have no control over.”
She however insisted that fraudulent subsidy claims would not be acknowledged. “For marketers whose transactions are proven to be fraudulent, the position of the Jonathan government is also clear: we cannot and we will not pay. We will not back down on this. We will continue to stand firm,” she declared.
“This is the right thing to do. And this, I believe is what the Nigerian people want,” Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala concluded.