Afigh Iwad Eket, the umbrella socio-political group of the people from the oil-producing Eket senatorial district, Akwa Ibom State, has called for a thorough investigation into the death of the Acting Executive Director, Finance of the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Ibanga Etang.
In an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, copies of which were sent to major arms of government, the group mourned the loss of Etang, who was also a former President-General of the group.
They called on the President to authorise the conduct of an independent autopsy to determine the actual cause of the death of their former President-General.
The group demanded answers to a few pertinent questions it said would shed light on their suspicion that there is some foul play at work.
Afigh Iwad Eket said: “One, how come Ibanga Etang died just few days to the probe of the NDDC by the National Assembly, especially after the commission had, some weeks ago, admitted that the sensitive documents which would aid the probe were in the custody of the Executive Director for Finance and Administration?
“How come the NDDC was quick to link the death of the Acting Executive Director to coronavirus, even before his samples were taken and tested by the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, the body authorised to make such declaration, had not done so?
“If not NCDC, who was the physician, or in which facility was his samples taken? Why was his samples quickly taken the evening after his condition deteriorated, and he was rushed to Port Harcourt in the night of which he died shortly after arrival?
“What could have been the motive behind the commission’s hasty decision to take the ‘precautionary measure of temporarily shutting down its headquarters for two weeks,’ without the involvement of the NCDC, if not for the purpose of eventually attributing the cause of his death to coronavirus?
“ If his ailment was COVID-19 related, why did they keep him in an Uyo-based Church for prayers and other spiritual interventions when Akwa Ibom State has one of the best COVID-19 management committees made up of renowned specialists?
“Why is his family stampeded by ‘powers that be’ to hurriedly bury him? Why is the wife of a certain politician calling top government officials and sounding desperate and agitated? Why are spurious other calls being received by certain people linked to a particular politician in the state all sounding fearful?
“What was the rationale in pushing into the social media space an internal memo concerning the alleged death of Ibanga Etang and shutting down of the commission’s headquarters, when the result of the test had not yet been received?
“We know the President to be a man of impeccable character and transparency and we are hopeful that he will answer our prayers and authorise Ibanga Etang’s autopsy to be conducted.”
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