Covid-19: Abba Kyari, President Buhari loses chief of staff to coronavirus

A top aide to Nigerian president has died from COVID-19, the president’s spokesperson confirmed in the early hours of Saturday.

“The Presidency regrets to announce the passage of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari. The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19, and had been receiving treatment. But he died on Friday, April 17, 2020,” a statement from spokesman Garba Shehu read in part.

Abba Kyari, had been diagnosed with coronavirus which he is believed to have contracted whiles on official duty in Germany. He was transferred from the capital Abuja to Lagos for medical care.

A Reuters report of March 24 described Kyari, who is in his 70s, as “an important figure in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and his illness could have ramifications for the running of the country.

“Kyari has a history of medical complications, including diabetes, and is the gatekeeper to the president. Many who wish to deal with Buhari must go through Kyari, including Nigeria’s top politicians and business owners.”

The report quoted Matthew Page, an associate fellow with the Africa Programme at Chatham House, labeling the deceased as the “lynchpin” of the Buhari government. “This has the potential to further slow down decision-making within top tiers of Nigerian government,” he said at the time.

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The national tally as at 10:00 pm 17th April stood at 493 confirmed cases. Out of which fifty-one were new cases: the breakdown of which were as follows – 32 in Lagos, 6 in Kano, 5 in Kwara, two each in Oyo, FCT and Katsina, one each in Ogun and Ekiti.

There are 159 discharges and death toll stands at 17. Kano with today’s figures consolidates its third spot. The number of affected states still stands at 20 out of 36.

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