Kidnapped Wife of Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor Has Been Freed

(Bloomberg) -- Nigerian central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele’s wife is safe after being released by kidnappers, according to the regulator.

Margaret Emefiele has been “freed,” bank spokesman Isaac Okorafor said in a text message on Saturday, without giving more detail. She was abducted on a road in southern Nigeria on Thursday, a person familiar with the matter said Friday. Armed abductors demanded a ransom, online newspaper Sahara Reporters reported, without saying where it got the information.

Kidnappings are a common occurrence in Nigeria, particularly in the south. Most victims are freed within days or weeks, sometimes months, after the payment of a ransom, though it wasn’t clear if a ransom was paid to Emefiele’s abductors. Former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s mother was abducted for five days in 2012. She said the attackers were trying to force the government to back down from its refusal to pay fuel marketers some of their subsidy claims.

Emefiele became governor in June 2014 under former President Goodluck Jonathan, shortly before the crash in oil prices battered Nigeria’s economy. Analysts and business executives said his decision to peg the naira to the dollar from February 2015 until June this year, which current President Muhammadu Buhari backed, have caused investors to flee the country and resulted in severe shortages of foreign-exchange.