NDDC headquarters

By Okafor Ofiebor

Panic has gripped residents of Port Harcourt, Rivers State amidst controversy surrounding the death of the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Ibanga Etang, suspected to have died of Coronavirus, as the Corporate headquarters of the commission has been shut.

An internal memo directed to Directors, Heads of Departments/Units and all staff with reference: NDDC/HQ/HAHR/3, after the death of Etang, and signed by Silas Anyanwu, said “I am directed to inform all staff that management has approved that the Commission be shutdown for two weeks from today, 28th May 2020.

“Consequently, all activities in the Commission, including ongoing matter are hereby shutdown for time being.

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“Members of staff are to ensure that all electrical appliances in their offices are switched off before leaving the premises.

“The head of security is by this memo directed to work out modalities to ensure the safety and security of the Commission, while the Director Administration is requested to fumigate the entire offices and premises in the headquarters during the period.

“Meanwhile, staff are enjoined to go into self-isolation for two weeks as they await further directive management.”

Closely related to the death of Executive Director Finance and Administration of NDDC, was the shocking news of the death of Chairman of Asari Toru LGA, Rivers State, Chief Odiari Princewill Christopher.

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Unconfirmed sources at NDDC, said that more than four persons were currently battling with shortness of breath and cough, all symptoms of the Coronavirus disease. These persons, we gathered went to seek medical help from the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, owned by the State Government but were asked to go home without any advise on how to get treated.

The Late Odiari, sources said had a heart attack the previous night and was rushed to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH,where died.

The shutting down of NDDC, headquarters housing hundreds of staff and rebounding effect of Covid-19 in the city of Port Harcourt and the entire Niger Delta is already a cause for concern because contact tracing will be challenging as staff are drawn from within the nine NDDC states..