Nigeria: President Buhari Loses Top Aide to COVID-19

Abuja — Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, has died, the highest serving political office holder to have succumbed to novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), Mr Femi Adesina, confirmed the death on Saturday in Abuja.

The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging Covid-19, and had been receiving treatment. But he died on Friday, April 17, 2020." Adesina said in a terse statement.

The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced that Kyari tested positive for Corvid-19 on March 24, 2019 but Buhari turned out negative.

With a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of Warwick, England, in 1980 and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law from the University of Cambridge, England, Kyari was first appointed chief of staff in 2015 when Mr Buhari came to power.

The demise of the top aide in his early 70s has increased the death toll to 17 from 13 on April 16, 2020.

NCDC said on Saturday that the Covid-19 cases have also risen to 493 and with 159 successfully treated.

One of the social media officer in the presidency described Abba Kyari "certainly as one of the most misunderstood people in the history of Nigeria".

"Those who had the opportunity to know him personally will tell you how extremely a good person he was. A man of honour, will be remembered as someone who sacrificed his life for this country."

In his reaction to the news of the death, foreign affairs minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said on Saturday: "In deep shock and sorrow at the passing of Abba Kyari, a best friend and brother."

He described Kyari as a " true gem and great Nigerian patriot. Irreplaceable."

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