by Isi Esene
Four days after, Professor Mabel Kamene Okonjo, the mother of the finance minister and coordinator of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was kidnapped, there are indications that some form of communication has been established with her abductors.
Okonjo, 82, was kidnapped by unknown gunmen around noon on Sunday at Ogwashi-Uku in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta, and taken to an unknown destination.
According to reports, the line of communication was established with one of the victim’s sons identified as Onyema.
There were indications that the kidnappers had initially demanded for a $1bn ransom which has now been reduced to N200m.
A source said details of the negotiation is being kept away from the public due to the sensitive nature of the case.
“I told you that the information is hoarded, so why are you asking me who is doing the negotiation and what amount, I do not know,” the source said in an answer to a question.
Meanwhile, the Delta State commissioner of police, Ikechukwu Aduba, yesterday exuded confidence that Mrs. Okonjo will be released safely.
He told newsmen: “You know already in the state, the synergy is there, the police, military and SSS and we are working together to make sure that Mama is rescued unhurt.
“We do not want to go into sensationalism. As far as we are concerned, we are beaming our light everywhere. We are looking at the whole place because in any palace, there are supposed to be palace guards – that is local security before you talk of that of the police.
“And so, we are looking at the obvious flaws and then, take the necessary action. But everything that has to do with the kidnap saga, investigation is still on. We do not want to jump the gun, but certainly, in the past, we have been able to rescue about 30 people without payment of ransom”, he added.
The Delta State governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, had on Monday assured the public that the kidnapped Queen Mother of Ogwashi-Uku would be released within 24 hours.