Keyamo, Melaye, others react as COVID-19 claims Buhari’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari

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Nigerians, including the minister of state for labour and employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo, the former senator representing Kogi West, Mr. Dino Melaye and the minister of communications and digital economy, Dr Isa Pantami have reacted to the death of the chief of staff to the president, Mr. Abba Kyari from the deadly coronavirus disease.

The presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina who broke the news of Kyari’s death on Saturday via his verified Twitter handle @FemAdesina handle wrote: “Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, passes on. May God rest his soul. Amen. Funeral arrangements to be announced soon.”

The senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu also confirmed the death in via his verified Twitter handle, @GarShehu.

“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. May God accept his soul. Funeral arrangements will be announced shortly,” he wrote.

Kyari was confirmed COVID-19 positive on Tuesday, March 24 following an official trip to Germany alongside the minister of power, Mr. Sale Mamman for a meeting with officials of Siemens to discuss issues relating to the Nigerian power sector.

It was also reported that the deceased had some underlying medical conditions.

Doctors attending to him had obtained his medical records from Wellington Hospital, St John’s Wood, London, which showed that he (Kyari) had some other ailments that could hamper his rate of recovery from COVID-19.

The Wellington Hospital, which is located in North London, is the largest independent hospital in the United Kingdom.

He later rejected the claims and announced his movement from Abuja to Lagos for further treatment.

Reacting to the death, Keyamo twitted: “When I chatted with him exactly on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, he assured me his health was fine and that he would faithfully take the treatments. But God always knows best. Sincere condolences to the Kyari family and the Government of Nigeria. Adieu Mallam Abba Kyari.”

In his condolence message, Melaye wrote @dino_melaye: “May the soul of Abba Kyari the chief of staff to Mr. President rest in peace. May God grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss. Everyone must complete this circle someday. Be prepared.”

In his tribute, Pantami said: “May the Almighty Allah forgive and be Merciful to Malam Abba Kyari (Chief of Staff to the President). May He (SWT) bless us with a good end.”

Frontline activist, Mr. Deji Adeyanju in his tribute called on the authorities to fix the health sector saying the deceased died in Nigeria because he could not travel for medical tourism.

Adeyanju who took to his twitter handle @adeyanjudeji said: “I hope those already stealing corona virus money will stop and begin to do the right thing. Abba Kyari died here in Nigeria, unable to travel for medical tourism. Fix our health sector and country now. Stop looting Nigeria dry.”

Also, magazine publisher and newspaper columnist, Mr. dele Momodu @DeleMomodu wrote: “The chief of staff to the president, Mallam Abba Kyari has died according to the president’s SA Media, Femi Adesina. May his soul rest in peace.”

Kyari, a Kanuri from Borno, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Warwick, in 1980 and also received a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge.

In 1983, he was called to the Nigerian Bar after attending the Nigerian Law School.

Kyari worked for the law firm Fani-Kayode and Sowemimo for some time after his return to Nigeria.

From 1988 to 1990, he was Editor with the New Africa Holdings Limited Kaduna.

In 1990, he served as a Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in Borno State.

From 1990 to 1995, Kyari was the secretary to the board of African International Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

He was an executive director in charge of management services at the United Bank for Africa, and was later appointed the chief executive officer.

In 2002, he was appointed a board director of Unilever Nigeria, and later served on the board of Exxon Mobil Nigeria.

In August 2015, Kyari was appointed chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari and was reappointed in 2019.

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