Monday 17 December 2012
My mum’s kidnappers demanded my resignation – Okonjo-Iweala
Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday said that her mother’s kidnappers, while holding the old woman, demanded she resigned because, according to them, she did not pay oil subsidy money to some marketers.
Addressing reporters in Abuja, the minister explained: “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.”
Okonjo-Iweala, who was full of appreciation for all and sundry, specifically thanked Almighty God “for the miracle of the release of my mother, Professor Mrs Kamene Okonjo.”
She added: “The Almighty has, once again, come through brilliantly for me and my family. Even during the bleakest part of this terrible experience, we believed that He would give us a testimony to His goodness, and He did not fail us.
“Even as we thank God, we cannot forget so many Nigerians who have gone through the same terrible experience either as victims or families or friends of victims.
“Words are not enough to describe the sheer horror of the experience. The best way to honour the victims and families is to ensure that there is greater focus on kidnapping and progress in combating it. Working with the relevant agencies under the leadership of the President, I intend to contribute my quota to helping achieve this.”