The top government functionaries that attended the burial of the late Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Abba Kyari, have been ordered to stay away from Aso Villa.
Kyari, who died of coronavirus on Friday in Lagos was buried at Gudu cemetery, Abuja on Saturday.
Prominent persons in attendance included the Secretary to Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha; National Coordinator of the PTF on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu; former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima; and Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
Others were the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari; Minister of Communications, Isa Pantami; Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu and the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Tijjani ldris Umar, among others.
The funeral has attracted criticism as most of the attendees were not properly kitted and social distancing was not observed during the event.
Meanwhile, Garba Shehu has said there is nothing ‘extraordinary’ about the order that those that attended the funeral should stay away from the Villa.
He said the directive is in line with the standard rules put in place by the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health.
“There is nothing extraordinary about those of us who attend Abba Kyari’s funeral being advised to distance ourselves from the Villa.”
He tweeted. He stressed that the Villa has operated ‘digitally’ in the last few weeks adding that “there is nothing new to this.”
A video of the late Abba Kyari’s burial in Abuja showed more than 20 attendees who had face-masks on but failed to maintain ‘at least 1 meter distance’ as advised by World Health Organisation, WHO in the preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19.
Critics have however reacted to Garba’s tweet, maintaining that the act was ‘irresponsible’ as key government officials should have used the medium to educate the public about the essence of social distancing as the spread of the virus is on the rise in Nigeria.
Nigeria has 541 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 166 deaths, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.