The mother of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was abducted from her home in Ogwashi-Ukwu in Delta State on Dec. 9, 2012, has been released.
IT was gathered that the kidnap victim, 82-year-old Prof. Kamene Okonjo, was dropped off near her home at about 10 am on Friday after spending five days in the kidnappers’ den.
A few hours after Okonjo reunited with her family at the palace of the Obi of Ogwashi-Ukwu, the police in Delta State shed light on the circumstances that led to her release.
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The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, said there had been a bloody shootout between his men and the kidnappers in Asaba, the state capital, which had resulted in the rescue of the kidnap victim.
During the encounter, a suspected kidnap kingpin, Mr. Nwazor Nwose, aka Bolaji, believed to have masterminded the abduction, was shot dead by security agents.
In a meeting with journalists in Asaba, Aduba described Nwose as a notorious kidnapper who had been arraigned in court on a previous kidnap charge in Delta State and granted bail.
The CP said, “Nwose was arrested a few months ago, investigated and arraigned in court for kidnapping and was released on bail by the court. But he returned to Asaba and continued his nefarious activities.
“This time, he met his Waterloo. Combined detectives from the IGP taskforce and that of the State Police Command swung into action and invaded his hideout. Immediately he sighted the police he jumped a very high fence. Our men had no option; we had to obey the rule of engagement and opened fire on him.
“He continued, but eventually we got him by trailing the blood stain. We rushed him to Federal Medical Centre, Asaba where he gave up the ghost.
“Notwithstanding, four members of the gang were picked up. Two have been indicted so far. Another notorious criminal called Bright is in our custody. The names of the other gang members are Hard Rock, Tse-tse fly, and Tipper Boy.”
Saturday PUNCH learnt that Nwose had previously been involved in the abduction and murder of an oil magnate in Asaba in 2011.
Aduba said the operation to rescue the queen began on Dec. 13, stressing that it was concluded in the early hours of Dec. 14.
He said the police refrained from attacking the hideout of the kidnappers in Kwale, Ndokwa West LGA on account of the frail and advanced age of the victim.
Aduba said Prof. Okonjo was brought to the palace on a motorcycle early yesterday morning hale and hearty.
“We knew the victim was in Kwale, but we were very cautious not to invade the town so that she would not be harmed. We waited patiently and continued to monitor the area. Mama was brought in this morning by a motorcycle,” he said, adding that the two vehicles used in the abduction of Okonjo, a Toyota minibus with registration number KPP 64 XA and a grey Volkswagen Golf car registration number ASB 697 AA, had been impounded.