Saturday, 15 December 2012

How Okonjo-Iweala's Mum Was Rescued, By Police

The Delta State Police Command Friday gave graphic details of how Professor Kamene Okonjo, the octogenarian mother of the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Professor Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, who was kidnapped five days ago, was rescued from her captors.

The State Commissioner of Police , Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, who gave the account of the rescue efforts at a media briefing, said Professor Kamene  Okonjo, who is also the Queen Mother of  Ogwashi Ukwu Kingdom in Delta State, was rescued  through the combined efforts of the Inspector-General of Police Special Task Force and other security agencies in the state.

Though the kidnappers had allegedly demanded  $1billion ransom for the release of the old woman, an amount that was later reduced to N200 million and finally N13million, the police spokesman also confirmed that the woman, who was kidnapped by 10 gunmen at the palace of her husband in  Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha  South  Local Government  Area  of Delta State,was freed without paying any ransom.

According to the police spokesman,  “The Delta State Police Command wishes to confirm the release of Her Majesty, (Mrs.) Kanene Okonjo. She was released unhurt in the early hours of today (Friday). It could  be recalled that on Sunday 9/12/12, at about 11:00 hours , unknown kidnappers kidnapped the Queen at the revered palace .

“The Delta State Police Command supported by a crack team  from IGP’s Special  Task Force on Terrorism Abuja, consciously and  professionally with due caution,  swung into  action,  bearing in mind  the age of the octogenarian, collected  intelligence on the activities of the hoodlums and struck  at their  hideouts in Asaba.

"In the course of effecting the arrest of one of  the notorious  kingpins, Nwaeze Nwosa, aka Bolaji, he attempted to scale the wall fence  and was shot at by the team and he suffered  fatal gunshot wounds. “

Aduba disclosed further that "some daring recoveries were also made in the process, thus  mounting  pressure on the hoodlums who eventually  capitulated and hurriedly released her.”

The police spokesman also said that one William Omenma was arrested in the course of the raid.

He confirmed that the arrested kingpin, Nwosa, had been previously arrested and arraigned for the kidnapping  and murder of a petroleum magnate, Obilink, in Asaba, the state capital, maintaining that the police have intensified  the manhunt for the fleeing  members of the gang.

The police spokesman listed the items recovered from the kidnappers to include a ash coloured Golf 3 car with registration number No ASB 697  used in ferrying  the octogenarian  out of the palace and a white Toyota Bus  with registration number  No APP64XA.

 Also speaking on the freedom of the Queen Mother, spokesperson to the Ogwashi- Uku monarch , Chief Lawrence  Okolobi, stated that “Professor Kamene Okonjo was  brought from Kwale in Ndokwa Local Government and driven to  a border town between Ubulu –Uku and Umunede before she was dropped off from where she picked  a commercial motorcycle to the palace."

Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chike Ogeah ,  while speaking on the matter, said the release of Professor Okonjo is “a  thing of  joy," adding " She is a grandmother  and a Queen, a professor  and a mother of Nigeria’s Coordinating  Minister of the Economy."

According to Ogeah, "My prayer  is that we shall never see anything like this again and our youths are admonished  to retrace their steps  away  from such  hideous  evil  so as to avoid  the wrath of God. We  give God  all  the glory  for her safe return and  the people of Delta State congratulate  Obi Professor Okonjo and his family on the safe return of his beloved  wife and matriarch of the family.”

At the Ogwashi Ukwu palace, security was very tight Friday as every visitor was subjected to thorough security checks before being allowed in. None of the security personnel was also willing to volunteer any information.

But in an apparent defiance to instructions given by the palace authorities, a local vigilante who decided to break the ice said: "As we speak, Mama is upstairs resting. You cannot see her now; as a matter of fact, I have been instructed not to speak to  the press. The person that will attend to you went out , I will advise you came back."

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