The Niger-Delta Development Commission, NDDC has discarded reports that the Acting Executive Director, Finance, Ibanga Bassey Etang died of COVID-19.
There were speculations that Etang died of COVID-19 related issues following NDDC’s leaked memo NDDC/HQ/HAHR/3 directing staff and workers to self-isolate for two weeks.
But Charles Odili, Director of Corporate Affairs, NDDC, in a statement issued on Friday in Port Harcourt said the Late EDFA did not die of COVID-19 as suggested.
Recall that the Acting Executive Director died in a controversial circumstance as some have alleged he was poisoned.
Etang’s body had been taken to a section of the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
The director’s demise occurred amid probe of the NDDC by the Nigerian Senate.
The intervention agency is under investigation for alleged mismanagement of N40 billion.
The Red Chamber of the National Assembly had vowed to unearth the truth and expose the culprits.
But the report that he might have died of COVID-19 had since been dismissed by activists fighting for a clean probe of the activities of the agency. They had alleged that it would amount to cover-up if the claim that he died of COVID-19 is sustained.
But Odili in the statement circulated in the media stated that the decision of the Interim Management Committee of NDDC to direct staff to self-isolate does not presuppose that Ibanga Bassey died of Coronavirus.
The Commission, therefore, emphasized that any report concerning the passing of the Acting EDFA remains untrue until the result of the autopsy is out.
The statement reads, “The Management of the Niger Development Commission, NDDC, wishes to announce the death of its Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang. ”
Explaining why the announcement is coming a bit late, the commission said, “He died in the early hours of Thursday in Port Harcourt. This announcement is coming at this time because of the need to inform family members. The Commission is not aware of the cause of his death as at the time of this release (6.45 pm on Friday, 29, 2020).”
It, however, said that it was out of caution that it asked its staff to vacate offices in case it turns out to be COVID-19-related death. “In line with fears of the current time, the Commission took the precautionary measure of temporarily shutting down its headquarters for two weeks. Staff were also asked to self-isolate. This action does not presuppose the cause of death.
“An autopsy report is being expected and when this is ready, it would be released with the consent of the family.
“The NDDC is, therefore, miffed by spurious and uncharitable coloration being championed by mischief-makers on the occasion of the demise of Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang, whose untimely death occurred at the early hours of Thursday, the 28th of May, 2020.
“The Commission is on course to issuing a comprehensive fact-based statement in consonance with the bereaved family, but for the unwarranted and unsubstantiated reportage which is flying in devilish propensities.
”Until the autopsy report is released from the Commission’s stables, every story on this matter, flies in the face of truth.
“The Commission also wishes to state that the rumours over the internal memo for staff of the Commission to stay away, so that sanitary and hygienic cleaning of the Commission can take place, is most unfortunate. The idea behind it is purely precautionary.
It warned those circulating fake news in the media regarding the death of the director to repent. “The commission wishes, therefore, to appeal to those mean spirited, whose ambition is to always turn truth on its head, to seek a path of repentance,” stating that neither slander nor provocative insinuations will deter it from delivering its core mandate in the Niger-Delta.
“The NDDC is determined to deliver on its core mandate to the good people of the Niger Delta region. Neither slander nor provocative insinuations will deter us,” the statement said.
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