Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari dies of COVID-19
The powerful Chief of Staff to Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Abba Kyari has died after contracting the novel coronavirus, the presidency announced on Saturday 18th April, 2020.
In a statement, the Nigerian presidential office said it “regrets to announce the passage” of Mallam Abba Kyari, who acted as gatekeeper to the leader of Africa’s most populous nation.
“The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19, and had been receiving treatment. But he died on Friday, April 17, 2020,” the statement said.
His remains were flown from Lagos to Abuja on Saturday and were brought in an ambulance to the Defence House in Abuja, where family members, as well as his colleagues gathered to pay their last respect.
Mallam Abba Kyari’s remains were later buried in Gudu Cemetery in Abuja in the presence of his family and close friends wearing traditional dress, as well as masks.
News that Mallam Kyari had tested positive for COVID-19 first broke on March 24, about 10 days after he returned from a trip to Germany during which he met with officials of Siemens in Munich on Nigeria’s electricity expansion programme.
He later confirmed the news himself in a statement on March 29, the same day President Buhari made his first nationwide broadcast on the pandemic and announced a two-week lockdown in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
In his statement, Mallam Abba Kyari revealed that he would be transferred to Lagos from the FCT for treatment and expressed the hope that he would recover and return to work soon.
However, Professor Akin Abayomi, Lagos State Health Commissioner has disclosed that late Abba Kyari died at a private “designated high care, biosecurity-compliant” hospital, known as First Cardiology Consultants in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Speaking on Saturday evening, April 18 2020, Professor Akin Abayomi made the confirmation and further added that the disclosure was expedient following inquiries from concerned Nigerians.
A Kanuri from Borno State, Mallam Abba Kyari was one of President’s Buhari’s closest allies.
He was appointed Chief of Staff to the President in August 2015, the post that made him considered as one of the most influential and powerful members of the Buhari administration.
Prior to his foray into politics, Mallam Kyari had a professional career as a lawyer and spent years in the banking industry, rising to become the Chief Executive Officer of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) at some point.
Late Mallam Abba Kyari, who was married to Hajiya Kulu Kyari; and whose marriage was blessed with four children held the National honour in Nigeria, Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).
Meanwhile, Governments across the world and Nigerians of diverse backgrounds have continued to mourn the passing of Mallam Abba Kyari as well as commiserate with the Nigerian government as well as the late Mallam Abba Kyari’s family.