Nigerian finance minister’s mother kidnapped

Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Officials in Nigeria say the mother of the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been kidnapped.

Professor Kamene Okonjo was taken from her home in Delta State on Sunday

A finance ministry statement said Mrs Ogozi-Iweala had been threatened recently but did not know whether this was linked to the kidnapping.

Nigeria is one of the worst countries in the world for kidnapping, where it is a lucrative criminal enterprise worth millions of dollars a year.

The crime is particularly prevalent in the oil-rich Delta State, although high-profile victims are uncommon.

A security official said it was not clear whether the motive was political or pecuniary.

Mrs Ogozi-Iweala has led a high-profile campaign to clean up corruption in Nigeria, particularly in a controversial fuel subsidy programme.

She has delayed the payment to fuel importers, seeking better verification of claims for subsidies

But analysts say kidnapping for political reasons is rare in Nigeria.

A Finance Ministry statement added: ” “This is obviously a very difficult time for the entire Okonjo family. But the family is hopeful of a positive outcome as it fervently prays for the quick and safe return of the matriarch.”

Mrs Ogozi-Iweala was one of the leading candidates to take over the World Bank this spring. She was previously the institution’s managing-director but lost out to the Korean-American, Jim Yong Kim.

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usman hashmi

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