The director of finance in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ibanga Etang, who passed on recently died of COVID-19, the commission has said.

There were several speculations around Etang’s death, including some unsubstantiated reports saying that he may have been poisoned.

It was reported that shortly after his death, the NDDC had shut down its operations and ordered its workers to be on self-isolation, as he was suspected to have died from Coronavirus.

But that also prompted the allegation that the NDDC management was up to some cover-ups.

“The Management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has been consulting with the family of Elder Ibanga Bassey Etang who passed away in the early hours of Thursday, May 28, 2020,” the spokesperson of the commission, Charles Odili, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The family has authorized the Commission to announce that the late executive director tested positive to COVID-19.”

Mr Odili said the Rivers State Ministry of Health has written to the commission to confirm that Mr Etang died “from complications attributable to COVID-19”.

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

The NDDC appealed to people not to politicise Mr Etang’s death.

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