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Nigerian Police Seek Kidnappers of Finance Minister’s Mother

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s police said they’re searching for the kidnappers of Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s mother after she was abducted from her home in the southern oil-rich Delta state yesterday.

Police spokesman Frank Mba in Abuja declined to comment on whether authorities know the identity or the motives of the kidnappers, in order to safeguard the investigation.

“The police have commenced a massive manhunt for the perpetrators of the crime,” Mba said today by phone. “The police must spare no effort to ensure that Mrs. Kamene Okonjo is rescued unhurt, reunited with her family and the perpetrators brought to justice.”

Okonjo-Iweala, who took office in August last year, has worked to reverse expansionary budgets and backed President Goodluck Jonathan’s move to cut a subsidy on gasoline in January. Under her tenure, the ministry also rejected subsidy claims by gasoline importers that weren’t verified.

The Finance Ministry doesn’t know “whether those behind this action are the same people who have made threats against the Coordinating Minister in the recent past or other elements with hostile motives,” Paul Nwabuikwu, a spokesman for the minister, said an e-mailed statement yesterday. “No possibility can be ruled out at this point.”

The incident took place in the town of Ogwashi-Uku, the ministry said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maram Mazen in Abuja at mmazen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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