The Presidency on Sunday, on April 19, has barred some ministers and some top aides of the President Muhammadu Buhari for not to access into the presidential villa for 14 days after returning from the burial of the late Chief of Staff to Buhari, Abba Kyari.
The burial at Gudu Cemetery was attended by a large crowd – most of whom had no nose mask or hand gloves on them for protection against Coronavirus.
This development violated the social distancing rule put in place by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and exposed attendees including the ministers and the Presidential aides to the risk of contracting the highly contagious and deadly disease, which claimed the life of Kyari.
Kyari on Friday died of COVID-19 at the First Cardiologists Consultant Hospital, Lagos, where he had been undergoing treatment for the virus.
Medical experts, according to a report had attacked ministers and other dignitaries, who attended Kyari’s burial for not maintaining the social distancing rule.
According to Sahara Reporters, President Muhammadu Buhari was not happy that the ministers and the aides decided to violate clear protocols and guidelines of the NCDC and he directed that they should keep off the Presidential Villa to undergo self-isolation.
Some of the aides reportedly barred from the villa include State House Chief Protocol Officer, Lawal Kazaure; Special Assistant to the President, Yusuf Sabiu; a nephew to the president, Musa Daura, and Mr Shehu.
Others are National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Ahmad Rufai, and Personal Assistant on New Media to President Buhari, Bashir Ahmed, among several more persons.
However, the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Sunday tweeted, “There is nothing extraordinary about those of us who attended Abba Kyari’s funeral being advised to distance ourselves from the Villa.”
“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,” he said.
Shehu and the others attended the funeral of the late chief of staff, barely practising social distancing, an act which triggered outrage over disregard for existing coronavirus-limiting rules.
Also, the Deputy Director, Information, State House, Attah Esa, in a statement titled ‘Advisory to State House Correspondents/Media Staff,’ said, “As a precautionary measure, all State House Correspondents and Media Office Staff who covered/attended the funeral prayer/burial ceremony of the late Chief of Staff, at Defence House and Gudu Cemetery Abuja, respectively, are strongly advised to work from home for the next 14 days.”
Apart from the Ministers and presidential aides, other attendees who participated in the burial have been identified. They will be isolated and tested as well, an official said.