•Abducted in front of husband’s palace
From PAUL OSUYI, Asaba
Undeterred by the 45-year-jail term each slammed on four kidnappers by a Delta High Court last Friday, dare-devil gunmen yesterday struck in Ogwashi-Uku, also in the state, where they abducted Prof. Kanene Okonjo, mother of Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The 82-year-old professor was kidnapped from the palace of her husband and the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku in Aniocha South Local Government Area, Obi (Prof.) Chukwuka Okonjo. Checks by Daily Sun revealed that the octogenarian queen was seized by the gunmen, numbering about 10 at the gate of the palace at about 1.40pm. Her husband, Obi Okonjo, was said to have travelled out of town at the time.
The hoodlums were lurking around the palace until the woman and her maid came down to serve workers at the gate soft drinks. According to an eye witness, “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. “The abductors walked into the compound, heavily armed. They were about 10.
They seized the men fixing the interlocking tiles and asked them to lay face down. Immediately they saw her (the queen) coming towards the gate with her maid to serve the workers soft drinks, they bundled her into their waiting Golf car while another car was parked outside.” The witness noted that one of the kidnappers was so brave that he went upstairs to collect the victim’s handbag, adding that another maid who caught a glimpse of the wielding kidnapper, hid herself in the kitchen.
The brave abductor was said to return from upstairs and informed his colleagues that there was no one else in the house before they zoomed off with the car where the woman was sandwiched, to unknown destination. Meanwhile, the police have arrested a man who allegedly left the compound a few minutes before the kidnapping.
The man was said to have informed the housemaid that he was in the palace to take the queen to somewhere in the town. Queen Okonjo’s abduction came two days after the state High Court sitting in Owa-Oyibo sentenced four persons to 180 years for kidnapping the father of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, who is representing Delta North, Chief Arthur Okowa in July 2008.