President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, many governors, ministers and other top government functionaries mingled with Malam Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the president shortly before he tested positive to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Kyari, who returned to Nigeria from Germany on March 14, had participated in several state functions and unofficial engagements that attracted prominent personalities.
It was gathered that yesterday’s confirmation that Kyari tested positive to COVID-19 necessitated the subsequent test on President Muhammadu Buhari, which turned out to be negative.
Similarly, Bauchi State Governor, Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, who also tested positive to the COVID-19, had also visited Germany not long ago and on his return, he had attended many functions in Bauchi, Abuja, and Lagos, where he reportedly mingled with other governors, key government functionaries, among others.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the best way to contain COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus, which is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person; and between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Kyari and Bala Mohammed had earlier reportedly gone into self-isolation, but credible sources said it was too late at the time they took the decision, considering that they already had direct contacts with prominent personalities.
While Bala Mohammed is reportedly on self-isolation in Bauchi, it was not clear yesterday where Kyari is being attended to.
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, yesterday went round the Presidential Villa.
They checked the office of Kyari among others before leaving; and when asked to explain their mission, the SGF said “You will be briefed later.”
Other members of the committee during the visit were the National Coordinator for the fight against COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, ministers of health, interior, aviation, humanitarian affairs, education, information and environment. Also, on the visit were the DG DSS, DG Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and World Health Organization Country Representative.
Osinbajo in self-isolation – Aide
Vice President Osinbajo is in self-isolation as advised by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), his media aide, Laolu Akande, confirmed yesterday.
Akande, in his twitter handle @akandeoj, said the vice president conducted his meetings via video conferencing, while observing social distancing, saying the vice president is now working from home.
The tweet read: “VP Osinbajo yesterday (Monday) at the office conducted his meetings via video conferencing, while observing social distancing. Today, he continues his work from the home office, as he is in self-isolation in accordance with NCDC protocols.”
What Kyari did in the last 10 days
Shortly on his arrival on March 14, Kyari attended the wedding of the son of the Inspector General of Police, Muhammad Adamu.
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote were among top dignitaries that graced the wedding.
At the meeting of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) with President Buhari on March 16, Kyari was also there and group photographs were taken.
The meeting was attended by 16 out of the 20 governors of the ruling party, including Babagana Zulum (Borno), Babajide Sanwo Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Mohammed Sani (Niger) and Simon Lalong (Plateau). Others were Rotimi Akeredolu ( Ondo), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Aminu Masari (Katsina), Hope Uzodinma(Imo) and Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe).
Before the NEC meeting, Kyari had an encounter with the embattled National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
On Tuesday, March 17, the chief of staff led a delegation to the Bello family compound in Okene to commiserate with Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State over the death of his mother, Hajiya Hauwa’u Ozoho.
Members of the President’s delegation included the Minister of Special Duties, Senator George Akume; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of State, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani; Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubair Dada and the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu.
The same day, he attended a briefing session by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) led by Professor Doyin Salami and took pictures with them.
The PEAC chaired by Prof. Salami is made up of Dr. Mohammed Sagagi, who is the vice chairman, Prof. Ode Ojowu, Dr. Shehu Yahaya, Dr. Iyabo Masha, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Dr. Bismarck Rewane and Dr. Mohammed Adaya Salisu.
President Buhari’s chief of staff was also in attendance at last week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on March 18. Inside the council’s chambers, his seat was not far from that of Boss Mustapha and Osinbajo.
On Thursday, March 19, Kyari attended the inauguration of the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee (NHCC) chaired by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq and also took some photographs.
Members of the committee co-chaired by the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd.) are the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, ministers of defence, interior, justice; and minister of state budget and planning; Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Inspector General of Police, as well as governors of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. Also on the committee are the Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps; Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Permanent Secretary, FMHADMSD (Secretariat), Chairman, Non-Governmental Organization Forum, among others.
Kyari was sighted after Juma’at prayers on Friday, March 20, but was not seen at the Presidential Villa from Monday.
He is reportedly on self-isolation at his residence at the Defence House, Maitama, but sources said he might be moved to another facility for extensive medical care.
Plan to isolate key functionaries under way
A presidential source said yesterday that all the people that had been exposed to the chief of staff would be on self-isolation any moment from now.
It was learnt that all his staff would be tested for coronavirus today as some highly exposed aides in the presidency went through the test yesterday.
While the Presidential Villa is on a gradual lockdown, most of the aides of Vice President Osinbajo wore face masks and hand gloves yesterday.
Other sources said some governors have already gone on self-isolation ahead of determining their status by relevant authorities.
ActionAid urges FG to lockdown Nigeria
The ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) has urged the federal government to lockdown the country, except those on essential services for the next 14 days to fast-track the efforts of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Control of Covid-19 in combating the spread of the virus.
The AAN Country Director, Ene Obi, in a statement in Abuja, commended some of the steps taken by the PTF on the control of Covid-19 so far, but said more needed to be done quickly and promptly.
“With the cases of infected persons increasing from three to 36 within a week, Nigeria needs to be ready for the worst-case scenario. Unfortunately, the concept of social distancing and self-isolation remains a mirage to many Nigerians.
“The average Nigerian, particularly those offline and at the grassroots are still ignorant and lack the basic safeguarding information on symptoms and prevention of the spread of the virus,” he said.
She expressed worry that Nigeria’s level of preparedness to respond to COVID-19 was low and this further buttressed the need to reprioritize Nigeria’s budgetary provisions by investing more in healthcare facilities.