Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, has revealed the reason why some top Presidency aides were denied access into Aso Villa on Saturday after returning from the burial of the late Chief of Staff to Buhari, Abba Kyari.
The burial held at Gudu Cemetery, Abuja, was attended by a large crowd – most of whom had no nose mask or hand gloves on them for protection against Coronavirus.
Shehu said the restricting access of some presidential aides into the Presidential Villa is aimed at stopping further spread of COVID-19.
He confirmed that some top presidential aides were denied access into the villa after attending the burial of the president’s late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.
According to Sahara Reporters, President Muhammadu Buhari was not happy that 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, in a series of tweet, Shehu stated that the directive to stay away from the villa is not out of place.
“There is nothing extraordinary about those of us who attend 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.
Apart from the presidential aides, other attendees who participated in the burial have been identified. They will be isolated and tested as well, an official said
Kyari died on Friday at a private hospital in Lagos, about four weeks after he was confirmed positive for COVID-19. He is believed to have contracted the disease after he returned from an official trip to Germany.
He was buried at the military cemetery in Abuja’s Gudu neighbourhood amidst tears from family members and supporters.