*The late Chief of Staff to President Buhari (left), the grave for his remains in an Abuja cemetery
By Our Editors
The Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Abba Kyari, who passed on on Friday at an undisclosed private hospital in Lagos will be buried in Abuja today, Saturday April 18, 2020. Kyari, no doubt the most powerful man in Buhari’s government died in Lagos on Friday April 17, 2020 as a result of complications from the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease that is dealing with the whole world at the moment.
Given the poor health facility in the country, our correspondents gathered that attempts were made to fly him abroad with air ambulance but with the entire countries of the world battling internally to manage their own outbreak, it was unwise to accept patient from another country – meaning that the strongman of the Buhari administration was forced to be treated in Nigeria, which has a health facility that has been abandoned to decay by government after another including, the Buhari administration.
It would be recalled how the wife of President Buhari, Aisha, who could not bear the decay disclosed to Nigerians that even the Government House clinic, which was funded by her husband’s government with over N3billion did not have a sachet of Paracetamol. That outburst did not go down well with the powers that be at Aso Rock, which the late Abba Kyari superintended over like a an overlord.
Only recently too, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Boss Mustapha who incidentally id currently the Chairman of the Presidential task Force on the Coronavirus pandemic exclaimed that he never understood the level of decadence in the Nigerian health sector until his appointment to chair the emergency COVID-19 committee. It is on record that government officials in Nigeria do not patronise Nigerian hospital facilities just as their children do not attend institutions in Nigeria. So, it was not surprising for the Secretary to the State government would not know the level of decadence in Nigeria’s health infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kyari, who hails 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. But, following his death Friday night, the presidency has commenced burial plans in earnest in line with Islamic provisions.
Presidential spokesperson, Mr. Garba Shehu hinted 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. The burial will not be made open in compliance with the existing social distancing directive aimed at curbing the spread of the deadly virus.
Mr Kyari has been in public consciousness since he was announced to have fallen victim of the virus on March 23. He was initially receiving treatment in Abuja before he was transferred to a private hospital in Lagos on March 29. In a March 29 statement, Mr Kyari said his health was improving and urged Nigerians to remain calm about his situation and keep a hygienic lifestyle to avoid contracting the virus.
But on Friday night, the presidency confirmed he was dead from complications inflicted by COVID-19. His death is the most senior Nigerian government official and politician to die from the virus, which was first reported in the country on February 27. As at yesterday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed that 493 Nigerians have now contracted the virus as of Friday night, out of which 17 casualties have been confirmed while 159 have died. But as at the time the NCDC updated the numbers, Kyari was not dead.