Akpabio trapped in winds of corruption, as secret plot to burn NDDC office, destroy evidence, leaks  

June 1, 2020
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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Godswill Akpabio, appears to be trapped in the winds of corruption over the investigation of N40 billion scandal and other petitions against the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDD), by the National Assembly as alleged plot to secretly burn the NDDC office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, leaks.

A group om NDDC surveillance had raised alarm on Sunday that a move allegedly nearing execution to set ablaze the office of the Executive Director of Finance and Administration of the NDDC in order to destroy some original documents relating to the NDDC probe in the National Assembly has been uncovered.

The statement of the surveillance group recalled that “Senator Akpabio had earlier announced that the NDDC EDFA, Chief Ibanga Etang, had died of COVID-19 and quickly instructed the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC to shut down the headquarters immediately.”

The minister is suspected to have purportedly feigned the sudden death of the Executive Director of Finance and Administration under coronavirus to preempt and forestall inquiry into the sudden death of the Director of a sensitive Department in the NDDC at a time investigation is ongoing in the National Assembly, in addition to petitions on  more alleged corruption are sent to the federal lawmakers.

“While it came as a rude shock to many that the Senator has suddenly assumed the role of the NCDC by pronouncing that the late EDFA died of Coronavirus when no Covid-19 symptoms or test was reported before his death; result from NCDC of the deceased, however, came out surprisingly negative upon procession of samples,” the statement read.

The group further stated: “It further became a shocker when the IMC-led management announced a shutdown of its headquarter through a memo signed by Silas Anyawu. This, however, did not go well in some quarters that believed it is Akpabio’s plot to evade the NDDC probe and destroy some implicating files.

“Why didn’t the Presidency shut down the Villa when the former Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, tested positive to the virus and died later.”

The statement alleged that investigation revealed that the fire which will be set by some youths who have already received payment, will be blamed on the commission staff failure to turn off electrical appliances. It was noted that “it didn’t come as a surprise when the instruction to turn off appliances was captured in the IMC memo to create a diversion.”

The memo was said to have emphasized that ‘Members of staff are to ensure that all electrical appliances in their offices are switched off before leaving the premises.

It was indicated that “Akpabio has equally been accused of knowing what actually killed his kinsman who is suspected to have been sacrificed to conceal the truth behind the IMC financial misappropriation and to frustrate the effort of the House committee.”

Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State was said to have lend his voice to the death of Chief Ibanga Etang. “He said that the government and people of the state would require answers to certain questions on the death of Ibanga Etang, the acting Director of Finance in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC),” the statement further read in part.

“There will be a time we’ll start asking questions. I am just waiting,” Governor Emmanuel had said on Friday during the inauguration of a 300-bed isolation centre built in Uruan, Akwa Ibom State, by his administration.

“They rushed to the social media and published even the internal memo that they have shut down the (NDDC) office for two weeks, and that he died of COVID-19,” the Akwa Ibom Governor was cited to have said.

It was, however, noted that Governor  Emmanuel did not mention the late NDDC director by name in his remarks, but it was apparent he was referring to Etang.

Governor Emmanuel had noted: “I know I am not supposed to say this, but I am the governor of the state and every life of my citizen is important to me.” The governor later talked about the passing of Etang.

The statement further indicated that Governor Emmanuel said the Akwa Ibom State government called the Commissioner for Health in Rivers State to find out if a COVID-19 test has been conducted on the body and whether the result was out, immediately he read postings on social media that suggested that Etang died of COVID-19.

The Akwa Ibom Governor had said: “The result is not out yet, so, I don’t know how people came by the information that he died of COVID-19.

“I am not saying he died, or he didn’t die of COVID-19. I am waiting for the result. When the result comes out, we will ask questions, certainly. How did they immediately come up with the information when the result of the test was not yet out? Why did they grant interviews everywhere saying it was COVID-19?

“There are a lot of questions that are left unanswered in this matter. And I want to say here that we stand for our brother, we stand for the lives of our citizens.

“We are monitoring, we are waiting for the result. Once the result comes out, I will let the ‘elders’ of the state know and then we will decide on what to do. We can’t just be keeping quiet. We have told the commissioner if the COVID-19 result comes out negative, they must do autopsy on that body, let’s know what happened.”

It was noted that “breaking news coming in now has it that the Covid-19 test result of the late Chief Ibanga Etang is out and behold its negative.”

It was said that an investigative journalist, Fisayo Soyombo, took to his twitter handle to tweet:

“Ladies and gentlemen, the result of the COVId-19 test on Ibanga Bassey Etang, the Acting ED Finance of the NDDC who died yesterday morning, is out. It’s negative!”

It was then demanded: “Can the NDDC now please reopen its headquarters for business, including the ongoing probe?”

The surveillance group promised: “We will keep you abreast as more revelation unfolds.”

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