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Finance Minister Accuses Subsidy Fraudsters over Mothers Kidnap

By on December 18, 2012

Finance Minister, Okonjo Iweala

The Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s mother was kidnapped on December 9 from her home in Ogwashi Uku, Delta State and released five days later. However, the minister is pointing fingers to certain quarters for kidnapping her mother.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has accused subsidy fraudsters for kidnapping her mother, adding that she was kidnapped over subsidy funds.

According to Okonjo-Iweala the kidnappers harassed her mother severally, “they told my mother that I blocked the payment of subsidy funds to some marketers,” she said.

The kidnappers requested that the minister come on television and radio to resign in exchange for her mother’s release. They also accused the minister of blocking some aspects of the SURE-P funds.

“I can’t give all the details because we don’t want to compromise on-going investigations. However, 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.

“These statements are, of course, not true. In the case of subsidy payments, we have been paying all marketers whose claims have been verified by the Aig-Imoukhuede Committee after going through the necessary processes.

“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.

“In the case of SURE-P, there is a totally different process that I have no control over. This is the right thing to do. And this, I believe is what the Nigerian people want,” she said.

She added, “This experience has strengthened my faith in the country. The outpouring of love from all over the country has been simply overwhelming.

“Friends, neighbours, colleagues, acquaintances offered help and encouragement in a myriad ways; even total strangers mobilised prayer groups for the safe return of my mother. We pray that God will reward their selflessness abundantly.”

The Minister said the experience has strengthened her, she further extended her appreciation to President Goodluck Jonathan, the First Lady, and all Nigerians for their encouragement through the ordeal.