The Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari dies of coronavirus at 80.
Mr. Kyari received treatment at a private hospital in Lagos.
His death was announced by presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, in a Tweet early Saturday.
“Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, passes on. May God rest his soul. Amen. Funeral arrangements to be announced soon,” Mr Adesina wrote.
Mr Kyari had on March 23 tested positive to the novel coronavirus. On March 29, Mr Kyari issued a statement on his decision to move to Lagos for “further test and observation.”
The statement was the first official confirmation of his COVID-19 status since he was confirmed positive six days earlier.
In his statement, he said; “I have made my own care arrangements to avoid further burdening the public health system, which faces so many pressures.”
“This is a precautionary measure: I feel well, but last week I tested positive for Coronavirus, the pandemic that is sweeping the world. I have followed all protocols the government has announced to self-isolate and quarantine.”
The perceived secrecy surrounding the management of Mr Kyari’s medical condition further heightened the agitation by Nigerians for information on the whereabouts of arguably Nigeria’s most powerful presidential aide.
Some Nigerians on social media also speculated that Mr Kyari was flown abroad.
Although Mr Kyari and the government he served did not disclose the hospital where he received treatment, some sources suggested that he was treated at First Cardiology Consultant (FCC), a highly-sought-after private health facility located in Ikoyi, Lagos.
One of the sources who did not want to be named due to patient’s confidentiality guideline and sensitivity of Mr Kyari’s case told one of our reporters that the chief of staff later became very sick.
While Mr Kyari received treatment at a private hospital, the Minister of Health, Osagie Enahire, warned private hospitals against treating COVID-19 patients in their facilities. He said instead they should promptly refer suspected cases to the various public facilities across states dedicated to the management of the disease.
It is unclear Saturday morning if Mr Kyari’s death is among the four new deaths announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) late on Friday.
The NCDC said Nigeria’s death toll increased to 17 on Friday from 13 on Thursday.
Nigeria has 493 confirmed cases of COVID-19 including the 17 deaths while 157 people have recovered and have been discharged.
Mr Kyari had travelled to Germany on March 7 and returned about a week later. He is suspected to have contracted the disease while there.
The chief of staff, who was in Europe alongside the power minister, Saleh Mamman, returned to the country on March 14.
The duo had travelled to Germany to meet with officials of Siemens AG in pursuit of the deal recently signed between the Nigerian government and the energy company towards improving electricity supply in the country.
Mr Kyari was first appointed chief of staff to the president in 2015 when Mr Buhari came to power. He was reappointed last year after his principal won reelection.
According to a statement by the presidency when he was first appointed, Mr Kyari held Bachelors and Masters Degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Warwick in Law and Sociology.
He worked with the New Nigeria Development Company, New Africa Holdings, African International Bank, the United Bank for Africa, Unilever, and Mobil in various capacities over the years.
Abba Kyari’s Burial Plan
Abba Kyari, the deceased chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, will be buried in Abuja today.
Mr Kyari, from Borno State, was pronounced dead on Friday from coronavirus complications. He was first tested positive for the virus on March 23 and subsequently moved to a private medical facility in Lagos for treatment.
Following his demise Friday night, the presidency has commenced burial plans in earnest in line with Islamic provisions.
Presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu revealed that Mr. Kyari’s remains will arrive in Abuja from Lagos Saturday morning.
He will be received by friends and cabinet colleagues at the airport in Abuja from where he will later be taken to a cemetery in the nation’s capital for burial, Mr Shehu said.
The burial will not be made open in compliance with the existing social distancing directive aimed at curbing the spread of the deadly virus