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Nigeria’s Finance Minister Links Mother’s Kidnap to Probe

Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said her mother was abducted and held for five days because she didn’t yield to pressures to authorize payment of unverified fuel-subsidy claims.

“She was told her daughter did not pay oil subsidy money,” Okonjo-Iweala told reporters today in Abuja, the capital. “Investigations are still on-going as to what happened.”

Okonjo-Iweala, who became finance minister for the second time in August 2011, 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 unverified subsidy payment claims by gasoline importers.

At least 63 suspects have been arrested in connection with the Dec. 9 kidnapping of 83-year-old Kaneme Okonjo from her home in the town of Ogwashi-Ukwu in southern Delta state, a military task force in charge of security in the region said. Two police officers were also detained for alleged negligence in the abduction, the police authorities said. She was freed on Dec. 14.

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