The Ailments That Complicated His Battle Against Coronavirus
The Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, is dead. He died of coronavirus.
His death was announced by presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, in a Tweet early Saturday.
“Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, passes on. May God rest his soul. Amen.
Although Kyari and the government he served did not disclose the hospital where he received treatment, some sources suggested that he was treated at First Cardiology Consultant (FCC), a highly-sought-after private health facility located in Ikoyi, Lagos.
One of the sources who did not want to be named due to patient’s confidentiality guideline and sensitivity of Kyari’s case disclosed that the chief of staff later became very sick.
The perceived secrecy surrounding the management of Kyari’s medical condition further heightened the agitation by Nigerians for information on the whereabouts of arguably Nigeria’s most powerful presidential aide. Some Nigerians on social media even speculated that he was flown abroad.
Not many people knew that Kyari had been battling a chronic type 2 diabetes, which required him to seek care regularly in London and Nigeria, Kyari also had other health problems including high blood pressure, one source said, asking not be named.
“The odds were indeed stacked against him. The pre-existing ailments and his age gave him very remote chance of survival,” one of the sources said, after his demise.
Kyari is believed to have contracted the coronavirus during his official trip to Berlin, the German capital, alongside officials of the Power Ministry for meetings with Siemens AG senior executives in the second week of March 2020. Kyari on that trip also met privately with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, one source said. Merkel would later self-isolate over fears that her doctor, who contracted the virus, may have infected her.
A few days after his return to Nigeria, Kyari, who did not self-isolate for two weeks as required by the guidelines of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, started showing symptoms of coronavirus and was severely coughing in high profile meetings including meetings that had President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in attendance.
On March 24, 2020, he tested positive for the deadly virus but Buhari fortunately tested negative. Osinbajo also tested negative later.
On March 29, Kyari formally confirmed he had contracted the disease in a personal statement to the public. “I am writing to let you know that on medical advice, I will transfer to Lagos later today for additional tests and observation. This is a precautionary measure: I feel well, but last week, I tested positive for coronavirus, the pandemic that is sweeping the world. I have followed all the protocols government has announced to s elf-isolate and quarantine,” Kyari wrote, adding: “I hope to be back on my desk soon.” Sadly, Mallam Abba Kyari will never return to his desk at the seat of power nor to his family.
Kyari is so far the only high profile death from coronavirus in Nigeria.
Until his demise on Friday in Lagos where he was isolating and receiving treatment for the deadly coronavirus and other underlying ailments, Kyari was the most influential and powerful appointee in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet. As Chief of Staff to the President, he wielded so much power and of course earned a lot of enemies and was regularly vilified privately and openly. After Buhari won reelection in 2019 he made Kyari his gatekeeper and ordered his Ministers to pass their requests through him.
He thus unarguably became one of the most vilified officials in the Buhari administration alongside the president himself. Shockingly, many were happy when he contracted COVID-19 and silently prayed he never returned to his job.
There is limited information on the birthday year and date of Kyari, a Kanuri from Borno State. He is however believed to have died in his 70s.
He earned a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from the University of Warwick in 1980 and also earned another Bachelors Degree in Law from the University of Cambridge. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1983.
He got his Masters Degree in Law from the University of Cambridge in 1984.