A former Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has recounted details of her mother’s abduction while she served under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to her book titled, ‘Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines’, it was one of the personal acts of intimidation she was subjected to, because of her insistence on implementing reforms and insisting that the right things should be done.
In December 2012, 83-year-old Prof. Kamene Okonjo was kidnapped in broad daylight from her country home in Ogwashi-Ukwu.
“They asked my brother to tell me to announce on national television and radio that I was resigning from my job as finance minister and leaving the country,” Okonjo-Iweala revealed when the kidnappers eventually made contact.
Okonjo-Iweala’s mother was released two days after.
According to her, the reason behind the kidnap was that, with the support of Jonathan, she had convened a taskforce that audited fiscal accounts and detected fraudulent claims for oil subsidy payments which she refused to pay.
The former Minister believed that as risky as it was to serve and fight corruption, in spite of the dangers and difficulties, “it was worth it because institutions, systems, and processes that can endure were built for Nigeria, and substantial monies saved”.
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