The chief of staff to the Nigerian president Abba Kyari is dead, presidential spokesmen Femi Adesina said on Saturday morning.
“Funeral arrangements to be announced soon,” Adesina said.
Garba Shehu, the special assistant on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, said Kyari died on Friday.
Kyari was suspected to have contracted the novel coronavirus when he visited Germany in early March multiple sources said. The presidency did not deny or confirm the rumours at the time.
It was only after his death that Shehu confirmed that Kyari had died of coronavirus.
“The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19, and had been receiving treatment,” Shehu said.
He was Buhari’s closest person in the cabinet. In fact, Buhari, while inaugurating his ministers in August, ordered them to make requests for meetings with him through his now-late chief of staff.
Recall Mouthpiece NGR had few weeks ago reported that the president also tested for the virus but his test came out negative. A number of top Nigerian politicians, some of whom met Kyari after his return from Germany, also took the test.
Since then activities had been suspended in aso rock while all those, who came in contact with Kyari since his return into the country after a trip to Germany last month, had also been asked to self-isolate.
The late Kyari had contacts with several prominent persons including Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Buhari, Babagana Kingibe, a prominent member of the ‘cabal’ and Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello.
He was also in contact with Aliko Dangote, Governor Bello Masari of Katsina and Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, among others after returning to Nigeria.
Three governors – Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi and Seyi Makinde of Oyo – all tested positive for the virus. Mohammed and Makinde have since recovered.