The late Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Kachalla Baru, may have died of COVID-19, Persecondnews has learnt.
The 60-year-old immediate past GMD, who reportedly died on Friday night during a “brief and undisclosed illness’’, had actually tested positive for Coronavirus.
Grief-stricken Group Managing Director of NNPC, Malam Mele Kyari had on Saturday morning announced Baro’s death in a tweet.
He said on his Twitter handle: “My brother, my friend and my mentor, Dr Maikanti Kachalla Baru, immediate past GMD of NNPC died late last night. He was of exemplary character and disposition. May Allah forgive him and have mercy upon him.”
However, a source close to the family said Baru had been feeling unwell for some time and had to do COVID-19 test twice with the results showing negative on the two occasions.
He said when his condition worsened some days ago he had to do another test which turned out to be coronavirus positive.
“He has been feeling sick for a while and he did test twice … both came out negative. But when his condition deteriorated a couple of days ago, he did another test which returned positive.
“Baru unfortunately died some hours before the result of the test came out,’’ the source told Persecondnews.
Born in 1959, Baro had a wonderful career in engineering and rose through the ranks at the NNPC before he was eventually appointed the GMD.
President Muhammadu Buhari, however, replaced him with Kyari in July 2015.
Persecondnews reports that Buhari, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of House of Representatives,Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, governors, and well-meaning Nigerians have expressed their condolences to the family and the NNPC.
NNPC had in a official statement by its spokesperson, Dr Kennie Obateru, expressed regrets over the sudden death of its former helmsman, describing him as “a consummate mechanical engineer.’’