Kyari’s burial: Why we were asked to self-isolate ― Garba Shehu

Presidential spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu has confirmed that those who attended the burial of late Kyari, from the presidency on Saturday, have been asked to self-isolate as demanded by the protocols established to contain COVID-19.

Kyari died from complications related to COVID-19 and was buried in Gudu cemetery, Abuja with a number of presidency staff including Shehu, in attendance as well as at the initial prayers for the body of Kyari at his Defense Guest House residence in Maitama, Abuja.

Reports emerged on Saturday that the attendees from the presidential villa were denied access to the premises on their return from the cemetery.

Shehu has now explained that stopping from entering the premises is in line with the standard procedures to fight the spread of the pandemic.

The report had claimed that among those barred from accessing the villa for now apart from the spokesman are State House Chief Protocol Officer, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure; Special Assistant to the President, Yusuf Sabiu (A.k.a Tunde) a nephew to the President, Musa Haro Daura.

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Others are National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Mr. Ahmad Rufai, and Personal Assistant on New Media to President Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, among others.

Their presence at the burial ceremonies was said to have violated the strict protocols established by the Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) for interring a COVID-19 victim.

Shehu on Sunday explained in a series of tweets on his handle @GarShehu: “There is nothing extraordinary about those of us who attend Abba Kyari’s funeral being advised to distance ourselves from the.

“This is in line with the standard rules put in place by the National Center for Disease Control, @NCDCgov and the Federal Ministry of Health. You do these things to stop the spread of #Coronavirus.

“For the most part, the Villa has operated digitally in the last few weeks. So, there is really nothing new to this.”

In a chat earlier on the access denial, Shehu had said: “It is true. It’s nothing that anyone should be angry about. They were just to obey rules. We have all attended the burial of a close friend in this season, anyone will know that after such occasion, you are meant to proceed on self-isolation. So what happened was standard protocol.

“If you observed, we have mostly been working digitally, most of our works have been done digitally, in observance of the social distance advice.”

There was outrage particularly on social media on Saturday as pictures emerged of mourners thronging Kyari’s prayers and burial site with little regard for social distancing to check the spread of coronavirus.

Despite the federal government previously announcing that the bodies of COVID-19 victims would not be released to their relatives for burial, the late Chief of Staff, who died in a Lagos hospital on Friday, was flown to Abuja of Saturday for his final rites in accordance with Islamic rites.


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