NDDC executive directive died of Covid-19, official

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* Other directors begin isolation, hqrs shut down

Fears that the top management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is under attack following sudden death of the executive director (finance and administration) in the heat of forensic audit and threats of probes by the National Assembly have reduced.

This is because the Commission which is battling probe wars and budget battles with the National Assembly has announced that the death is from coronavirus. This means it may not be caused by ‘remote control’.

It has rather opened another battlefront, confirming that its executive director (finance and administration) actually died of Covid-19.

By this, the entire management is to begin isolation from Wednesday, June 3, 2020, while the headquarters shut down a week earlier over coronavirus panic. The executive director and an elder, Ibanga Bassey Etang, died last week (May 29) but the management seemed to exercise caution by waiting for an autopsy report which came out June 2, 2020.

Now, the Interim Management Committee headed by Daniel Pondei, a professor, said the family of the deceased has authorized the Commission to announce that the late executive director tested positive to COVID-19.

The statement signed by the corporate affairs director, Charles Odili, said the Rivers State Ministry of Health has written to the Commission to also confirm the cause of death resulting from complications attributable to COVID-19.

The statement went further: “The ministry has, therefore, directed the Commission to order all management staff to go into self-isolation for a period of 14 days with effects from today, While seeking the cooperation of the organisation in tracing staff and contractors who have had close contact with the deceased.

“During the meeting with the family, they expressed fervent desire, that the death of the Executive Director should not be politicised, wishing to be left alone to mourn with dignity.  This also is the position of the Commission.

“We pray for the peaceful repose of the soul of our Executive Director Finance and Administration, Elder lbanga Bassey Etang.”

The death has heightened tension in the Commission which already seems to be under bombardment since it decided to implement the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari. There have been rumours of attempts to force the management to withhold some contract documents from getting to the forensic auditors. There have also been pressures to probe the IMC instead of the contractors. The death of the executive director seems to create more panic of insecurity of lives in the management until the autopsy revealed the true cause.

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