Mallam Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, has died of COVID-19 at the age of 81.
Mallam Abba Kyari died of Friday, 17th April, 26 days after testing positive to the Coronavirus.
The news was broken via social media by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina around 12: 44am on Saturday, 18th April.
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.
May God accept his soul.
Funeral arrangements will be announced shortly.
Mallam Abba Kyari had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 23rd, 2020 following an official trip to Germany nine days earlier, though it was revealed on March 30th.
At the time, he was in high spirits and even said he would return to office sooner.
There were, however, no immediate details about where he died.
About Abba Kyari.
Mallam Abba Kyari’s passing is a major blow to the Buhari presidency. It leaves a gaping hole in the administration as it juggles responding to a Coronavirus outbreak—which is likely to tip Nigeria’s economy into its worst recession in 30 years according to the IMF—and battling multiple insecurity challenges, including a devastating Boko Haram insurgency that has left the military stretched. Kyari’s passing may also force president Buhari into a quick shake-up of his kitchen cabinet—a reality which flies in the face of the president’s preference for slow-paced decision making.
He was one of several high profile political figures in Nigeria to have contracted the virus. The state governors of Bauchi (Bala Mohammed) and Oyo (Seyi Makinde) both contracted the virus in March and have recovered. The Kaduna governor Nasir El-Rufai is still in care.
According to Wikipedia, Kyari graduated from the University of Warwick, UK, with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 1980.
He also received a bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Cambridge and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1983 after attending the Nigerian Law School.
In 1984, he obtained a master’s degree in Law from the University of Cambridge. He later attended the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland and participated in the Programme for Management Development at the Harvard Business School, in 1992 and 1994, respectively.
He was at various times Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in Borno State, secretary to the board of African International Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Bank of Credit and Commerce International, executive director in charge of management services at the United Bank for Africa, and later appointed the bank’s chief executive officer.
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In 2002, he was appointed a board director of Unilever Nigeria, and later served on the board of Exxon Mobil Nigeria.
He was named Chief of Staff to the President in 2015 and was reappointed to the position after Buhari’s re-election for a second term in 2019.
Abba Kyari’s last public statement to Nigerians
On March 29, Abba Kyari, wrote a message informing Nigerians of his COVID-19 status and his decision to receive treatment in a private hospital.
That statement has turned out to be the last from the Borno politician and former journalist.
Below is the full text of Mr Kyari’s last statement.
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 self-isolate and quarantine.
I have made my own care arrangements to avoid further burdening the public health system, which faces so many pressures. Like many others that will test also positive, I have not experienced high fever or other symptoms associated with this new virus and have been working from home. I hope to be back at my desk very soon. I have a team of young, professional, knowledgeable and patriotic colleagues, whose dedication has been beyond the call of duty, who continue to work seven days a week, with no time of the day spared. We will continue to serve the President and people of Nigeria, as we have for the past five years.
I want to thank all our fantastic, talented and brave healthcare professionals, working across the country in such a difficult time; all the good Samaritans looking out for the most vulnerable in our communities; the key workers that will keep our country going through this; friends and family and often strangers, who have sent me such warm wishes and displayed such a generosity of spirit.
We should be calm, measured and diligent – be meticulous in your hygiene, especially with cleaning hands, if possible stay at home or keep your distance. Listen to good advice from the proper authorities: pay no heed to quack cures or fake news from social media. President Buhari will do whatever it takes to protect the health and safety of our people and get the country back on its feet as soon as possible.
Like the whole world, we are dealing with a new disease. Our experts are learning more all the time about coronavirus, what it does and how we can combat it. What we do know is that while some may become very sick, many others who contract the virus will not, and may have no symptoms at all. This is a disease that recognises no difference between north and south, men or women, rich or poor. We are all in this together.
Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari