The Director of Finance and Administration of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Ibanga Bassey Etang, did not die of COVID-19. This was disclosed by NDDC yesterday as results of his sample taken has yet to be out. This is contrary to their suspicion that the sudden and apparently mysterious death of Etang was due to COVID-19 infection, reason that the headquarters of the Commission was ordered to be closed and the entire staff admonished to self-isolate for two weeks. Switch Nigeria had reported yesterday that the member of the Interim Management Commission, Etang, had died of corona virus COVID-19. See http://switchnigeria.com/2020/05/29/etang-an-nddc-director-dies-of-covid-19-akpabio-orders-closure-of-headquarters/. The Commission now contradicts itself, saying the directives were precautionary measures because of the prevailing circumstances of health in the country.
Chief Etang died in the early hours of Thursday, 28th May, 2020, and it was widely suspected that it was due to COVID-19 as NCDC was seen within the premises of the headquarters of the Commission, a situation that made its staff to panic and act with premonition. Even, the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs had as a precaution ordered the immediate closure of the headquarters and advised that all staff self-isolate.
But in a press release yesterday, the NDDC Management said the news that Etang died of COVID-19 should be disregarded. Here is a press release in the early hours of the evening yesterday:
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 (6.45pm on Friday, 29, 2020).
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 release 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.
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.
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.
Charles Obi Odili
Director, Corporate Affairs
May 29, 2020.
The death of Honourable Etang is truly mysterious, as he was quite vibrant and healthy only three weeks ago. Moreso, the fact that he is among the Interim Management Committee team that has taken up the challenge to rid the Commission and indeed, the Niger Delta of sharp practices and corruption, is more worrisome. This is coming after a top official and member of the IMC made some telling revelations about the involvement of top members of the National Assembly in the plundering of funds meant for the region.