John Alechenu and Femi Makinde
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu on Saturday, had his sample and those of his close aides taken by officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, to test for COVID-19, as a precautionary measure.
Samples were also taken from the remains of his late Chief Security Officer, Alhaji Lateef Raheem, by NCDC officials to test for the virus.
Raheem, who died of complications arising from diabetes and high blood pressure in Lagos, on Friday, was buried the same day in accordance with Muslim burial rites.
TheCable had earlier reported that samples were from Tinubu and his personal aides and that the results were being expected on Monday.
When contacted by one of our correspondents, Tinubu’s Media Adviser, Tunde Rahman, confirmed the development.
Rahman said the action was however not an indication that the late CSO died from COVID-19 related sickness.
He told Sunday PUNCH, “It was just a precaution; just to be on the safer side. It has not been established whatsoever that our Chief Security Officer, Alhaji Lateef Raheem, died from COVID-19. He was battling against diabetes and high blood pressure.
“We think he may have died from complications arising from this medical condition. But we are not the experts in this aspect. Thankfully, before he was buried, samples were taken from his body for COVID-19 test.
“We are still awaiting the results. And as a precaution all of us have taken the tests and we are awaiting the results as well.
“This is the way it should be. No one should take chances with this pandemic. Coronavirus is real. And it is not a death sentence.”
Earlier on Saturday, Tinubu in a tribute to his late Chief Security Officer, titled: “Lateef Raheem-My Extraordinary Aide,” described the late CSO as a good and decent man.
He said, “A good and decent man has gone. My Chief Security Officer, Alhaji Lateef Raheem, has passed and his death cuts severely.
“Lateef reported for work on Monday. Feeling a bit under the weather, he went home to rest. We spoke on Wednesday on the phone. He was in fine spirits and was looking forward to resuming work.
He also said his late chief security officer, who he said went beyond the call of duty to carry out his assignment, never took selfish advantage of his position and ensured he was forthright and honest to a fault.
Tinubu said the late policeman, whom he first met when he was posted to him as a security detail for the 1999 Lagos State governorship election, remained with him until his death.
Describing how close he was to the deceased, Tinubu said, “As head of my security, Lateef had a permanent seat in my vehicle. Whenever I saw him there, I felt assured and relaxed.”