The chief of staff to the Nigerian president Abba Kyari is dead, presidential spokesmen Femi Adesina said on Saturday morning.
“Funeral arrangements to be announced soon,” Adesina said.
Garba Shehu, the special assistant on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, said Kyari died on Friday.
Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, passes on. May God rest his soul. Amen. Funeral arrangements to be announced soon.
— Femi Adesina (@FemAdesina) April 17, 2020
Kyari was suspected to have contracted the novel coronavirus when he visited Germany in early March multiple sources said. The presidency did not deny or confirm the rumours at the time.
It was only after his death that Shehu confirmed that Kyari had died of coronavirus.
“The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19, and had been receiving treatment,” Shehu said.
He was Buhari’s closest person in the cabinet. In fact, Buhari, while inaugurating his ministers in August, ordered them to make requests for meetings with him through his now-late chief of staff.
Multiple media reports said the president was also tested for the virus but his test came out negative. A number of top Nigerian politicians, some of whom met Kyari after his return from Germany, also took the test.
Three governors – Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi and Seyi Makinde of Oyo – all tested positive for the virus. Mohammed and Makinde have since recovered.