In recent months, the spate of kidnappings in Nigeria have risen to an uncomfortable level, increasing people’s fears and giving the nation a bad reputation. The kidnappers are no respecter of people’s age or social status – the young, the old, the rich, the poor have been victims of this heinous crime.
Yesterday, Professor Kanene Okonjo, mother of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was abducted at the gate of the palace of the traditional ruler of Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, Prof. Chukwuka Okonjo, who is her husband.
Punch reports that 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 and took her away, when her husband travelled out of the town. Below is an account of how she was abducted from the palace.
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.
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.
The kidnappers have yet to make contact with the family of their victim.
This brazen attitude of kidnappers is getting out of hand and calls for a radical improvement in the nation’s security system. Kidnapping cases are now at an all time high and more needs to be done to bolster our security.
Our prayers are with the Okonjo family and we hope the woman is found soon and returned to her family in good health.
Photo Credit: Punch