The Nigerian President’s chief of staff has died after contracting the novel coronavirus.
In a statement released on Saturday, the president’s office announced that it “regrets to announce the death of Abba Kyari. Kyari had tested positive to the coronavirus and had been receiving treatment. But he died on Friday, April 17, 2020. May God accept his soul.”
Kyari is the highest-profile coronavirus death in the West African country. According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Nigeria has over 500 confirmed cases and 17 deaths of the coronavirus.
Abba Kyari’s Role in Nigerian Presidency
Abba Kyari, an influential technocrat was known to have acted as gatekeeper to the president of Africa’s most populous nation.
It is reported that Kyari who suffers from underlying health issues, tested positive for coronavirus in late March after visiting Germany. His test results forced a string of top Nigerian officials who had been in contact with him to self-quarantine.
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In a statement released on March 29, Kyari said he had been transferred to Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city, for private medical treatment and in his words hoped “to be back at my desk very soon”.
There has been no official confirmation on whether Buhari has taken a test, but the president has since made repeated televised speeches imposing restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The central government has imposed a lockdown on Nigeria’s economic hub Lagos and capital Abuja, while state governors have ordered a number of measures in other regions.
Abba Kyari’s remains has been laid to rest according to Muslim rites at the Gudu cemetery in the country’s capital, Abuja.
Videos from the burial rites that surfaced online has sparked outrage among Nigerians. Clips from the ceremony shows a large amount of people not observing the compulsory social distancing. There are other clips that showed a man not protected with any from of PPE in close proximity to the corpse.