The Presidency on Sunday explained that the decision by security officials to bar attendees of the burial ceremony of the late Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, from entering the State House was standard protocol.
This explanation was given following reports that senior State House officials were denied access into the Presidential Villa, Abuja after attending the burial ceremony, which included prayers on the corpse of Kyari at the Defense Guest House in Maitama and and interment at Gudu Cemetery.
An online medium, Sahara Reporters, had claimed that key aids to President Muhammadu Buhari, who attended the burial of the late Chief of Staff, incurred the President’s displeasure for allegedly violating Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) regulations, especially social distancing.
According to the report, among those who attended the burial and were turned back from accessing the State House were State House Chief Protocol Officer, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure, Special Assistant to the President, Yusuf Sabiu (AKA, tunde) a nephew to the President, Musa Haro Daura, and Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the, Garba Shehu.
Others are National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Mr Ahmad Rufai, and Personal Assistant on New Media to President Buhari, Bashir Ahmed, among several more persons.
Mallam Abba Kyari had died of complications from the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in a Lagos hospital and was buried in Abuja on Saturday.
Views from the burial ceremonies; the prayers at his former official residence and at the burial site, had continued to raise concerns among Nigerians, noting how crowded the ceremonies were and the failure of attendees to observe social distancing.
However, reacting to the report about barring access to top officials at the Villa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, who spoke to The Nation, said it was true, but noted that the security operatives were observing standard security protocol.
According to him, those who attended the event were supposed to proceed on self-isolation immediately after the ceremonies.
“It is true. It’s nothing that anyone should be angry about. They were just obey rules. We have all attended the burial of a close friend in this season, anyone will know that after such occasion, you are meant to proceed on self-isolation. So what happened was standard protocol.
“If you observed, we have mostly been working digitally, most of our works have been done digitally, in observance of the social distance advice,” he said.
Minutes after the conversation, Mallam Shehu left the same clarification on his Tweeter handle:
“There is nothing extraordinary about those of us who attend Abba Kyari’s funeral being advised to distance ourselves from the.
“This is in line with the standard rules put in place by the National Center for Disease Control, @NCDCgov and the Federal Ministry of Health. You do these things to stop the spread of #Coronavirus.
“For the most part, the Villa has operated digitally in the last few weeks so there is really nothing new to this,” he said.
Source: The Nation