PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff Mallam Abba Kyari has become Nigeria’s most high profile casualty of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe after he succumbed to it yesterday and passed away.
Mallam Kyari was widely been seen as one of the three or four most powerful people in Nigeria and had the complete trust of President Buhari. He had even been described as the de facto head of the government because it was he who decided who had access to President Buhari and whose proposals got looked at.
In his 70s, Mallam Kyari trained as a lawyer, graduating from Cambridge and Warwick universities in the United Kingdom in the early 1980s. He worked for the law firm Fani-Kayode and Sowemimo for some time after his return to Nigeria and from 1988 to 1990, he was an editor with New Africa Holdings in Kaduna.
Mallam Kyari was said to have contracted coronavirus on an official trip to Germany in and was confirmed as Covid-19 positive on March 23. Over the last week, it had been reported that he was recovering but it appears that he died from complications related to his illness at a Lagos hospital.
Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina, said: “Chief of staff to the president, Mallam Abba Kyari, passes on. May God rest his soul. Funeral arrangements to be announced soon.”
This news was also confirmed by his fellow special assistant in the presidency Mallam Garba Shehu, who tweeted confirmation of the demise. Mallam Kyari had underlying health problems including diabetes and this is believed to have played a role in his passing
Mallam Shehu said: “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.”
Although Mallam Kyari and the government did not disclose the Lagos hospital where he was receiving treatment, some sources suggested that he was treated at First Cardiology Consultant, a highly-sought-after private health facility located in Ikoyi. Only a few days ago, Mallam Kyari issued a statement saying he was getting better and would be back at work soon.