The management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has confirmed that Ibanga Bassey Etang, its late executive director of finance and administration, died of complications from COVID-19.
After the death of Etang, the commission shut its head office in Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital, and asked its staff to go on self-isolation immediately.
This had fuelled speculations that Etang died from complications of COVID-19 but the commission had asked the public to disregard reports on the cause of the death of its director.
But in a statement on Tuesday, Charles Odili, NDDC’s director of corporate affairs, said the family of the deceased authorised the commission to announce that the late executive director tested positive for COVID-19.
“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,” he said.
“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 director’s death happened during the forensic audit of the commission’s activities as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In October 2019, the president directed an audit of the commission’s activities from 2001 to 2019.
Last week, the senate set up an ad hoc committee to probe the interim management committee of the NDDC over alleged mismanagement of N40 billion.