Abba Kyari, chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, did not self-isolate after an official foreign trip because Germany and the UK were yet to be designated high-risk countries requiring self-isolation, family sources have told TheCable.
This is contrary to insinuations that he refused to self-isolate on his arrival as advised by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The president’s right-hand man was on Monday diagnosed with the Covid-19 disease which he is thought to have contracted on his the trip.
“Abba was in Germany and the UK from 8th to 12th of March. He arrived Abuja on the 13th. As at that date, neither Germany nor UK had been designated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as high-risk destinations requiring self-isolation,” a family member, who spoke on the condition that he would not be named, told TheCable.
“In fact, Germany was designated on the 16th and the UK on the 17th. Both were after his arrival on the 13th. To say he breached the NCDC advisory is evidently inaccurate.
“I’m aware Abba has volunteered to hand over his passports to the ministry of health and NCDC for a verification of his travel dates.”
He said if the chief of staff had anything to hide, he would not have written to the national assembly leaders to complain about the failure of their members to subject themselves to serious checks.
“Abba was more concerned about the abuse of power in the bid to deal with the challenge. That also presupposes that he couldn’t have written that letter if he had anything to hide,” he added.
He frowned upon the narrative being pushed by “those obsessed with seeing the back of Abba and who have seen this as an opportunity to continue their continued war against” him.
“Abba didn’t break any guidelines. If anything at all, he could be accused of throwing himself at the tasks given to him by the principal,” he said.
“While these eternal plotters have been snoozing, he has been busy working for Nigeria. In the end, our lives are in the hands of Allah. There are many people celebrating and gloating today who will probably still catch the virus or have already caught it. That’s the irony of life.”
‘NO SERIOUS SYMPTOMS YET’
Another family member, who also asked not to be named, told TheCable that the chief of staff is “in high spirits” in self-isolation.
“I am in touch with Abba by phone and he is very much in high spirits. He is more moved by the messages of goodwill from well wishers than the usual negative stories out there,” he told TheCable.
“Up till now, he has not shown any symptoms apart from occasional coughing, so there is no other treatment other than addressing the cough. He does not have any fever and does not have any breathing difficulty.
“It is only if he exhibits serious symptoms or becomes seriously sick that he will be moved to the Gwagwalada quarantine centre. Part of the management strategy of the government is that since symptoms can resolve on their own, only those who really need emergency attention will be moved to the quarantine so as not to overwhelm the hospitals.
“Ironically, he was very active on Saturday and was holding meetings on how to address the outbreak of the coronavirus in Nigeria.
“Abba’s primary concern was how Nigeria can adopt a methodical approach to managing the crisis as health systems even in the most advanced countries are easily overwhelmed.
“If as good as the Italian health system is they are in this big mess, you can imagine anything near that magnitude in Nigeria.
“He was more concerned about the number of ventilators and ICUs in the country and asking questions about different scenarios, and what and what is needed.”
After Kyari’s result, Buhari was also tested but he was negative.