Attendees at Kyari’s burial : SGF, ministers, others defy Buhari’s directive to self-isolate,  address daily COVID-19 media briefing

by Per Second News
6 minutes read


…we made mistakes with burial, PTF apologises


In defiance of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that attendees at the burial of the late Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, should go into 14-day self-isolation, four members of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the COVID-1 pandemic, on Monday made public appearance and addressed the daily media briefing on the situation report.

They are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the PTF, Mr Boss Mustapha, the National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Services, Sadiya Farouq.

Persecondnews recalls that the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) , FCT Council, has urged members of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and other attendees at the burial of Malam Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, to stay away from the daily media briefings for now.

Specifically, the NUJ said the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of COVID-19 Task force, Mr Boss Mustapha, and others should “demonstrate dignified responsibility by not putting journalists and others who attend the daily briefing in harm’s way” by staying away.

Buhari had on Saturday barred Ministers, Advisers and other officials as well as journalists who attended the burial of Kyari from the State House, Abuja.

Speaking at the briefing, Mustapha admitted that mistakes were made at the burial of the Chief of Staff and said it was regretted.

“The PTF recognizes, regrettably, the unintentional violation of the principles and protocols that form the core of our messaging to Nigerians, at the funeral of the late Chief of Staff. These principles for emphasis, include: the guidance provided on mass gatherings; social distancing; Personal Hygiene; and restriction of movements.

“Lessons have been learnt and appropriate measures have been taken to close all gaps. We assure all Nigerians of their safety and the determination of the PTF to combat the pandemic,’’ he said.

Nigeria currently has 627 COVID-19 patients, 86 were detected on Sunday, the highest number of cases discovered in Nigeria in a single day.

Mustapha, who warned that  COVID-19 was far from being over in Nigeria, described the increase in the number of COVID-19 patients as worrisome.

The SGF appealed to Nigerians to comply with the lockdown directive, saying the federal government is determined to “flatten the curve”.

Mustapha said: “Given the increase in the number of confirmed cases in the last week, the PTF remains conscious of the fact that we are far from the end of this outbreak in Nigeria. We, therefore, must focus even more vigorously on our strategy of increasing testing, isolating confirmed cases, following up with contacts of cases and managing confirmed cases to recovery.

“The significant increase in the number of cases and distribution across states underscore the importance of remaining focused as citizens and as a nation because of the enormity of the challenges ahead.

“This is the time for all hands to be on deck so that the PTF can improve on its delivery. We must all come together because we face a common enemy and potential risk. We must flatten the curve at all cost and restore our country to full activity.”

On his part, the PTF Coordinator also apologized for the mistakes made at Kyari’s burial.

He said: “The PTF will like to acknowledge and apologise for the mistakes that were made regarding the burial of the late Chief of Staff. We realised that crowd control failed, we have learned from this and we will ensure that future events are adequately regulated and follow the task force’s protocols.

“The Gudu Cemetery had since been decontaminated, the personal protective equipment discarded at the site; decontaminated being burned and discarded according to the NCDC guidelines.

“I’ll like to further clarify the issue of COVID-19 and the burial processes. Contrary to what is on social media, the body of the late Chief of Staff was properly prepared for burial, according to NCDC guidelines and the Islamic faith.

“The bodies of persons with COVID-19, as stated clearly by the WHO guidelines “except in cases of viral haemorrhagic fever and cholera, dead bodies are generally not infectious. To date, there’s no evidence of persons having become infected from exposure to the bodies of persons who had died of COVID-19”.

“Therefore, we will like to further assure the public that we will continue to follow the guidelines and protocols we had produced. The NCDC guidelines are very much reflecting the WHO guidelines.

“We’ll also like to assure the public that the task force takes its Presidential mandate seriously and is committed to executing it to the best of its ability. We ask for the public to continue holding us accountable for our actions.

“We read your comments on social media, we listen to you and also acknowledge the issues that might arise, please continue to do so, it is the only way we can continue to improve and fight this big challenges we have.

“The task force will like to acknowledge the prime role that the Chief of Staff played in establishing the Presidential Task Force, he fired the first shot against COVID-19. We will continue to honour his memory and we will continue to do everything possible to overcome this pandemic.”

On whether the Taskforce will extend privileges granted to Kyari to other families in future, Aliyu said: “ Like the Chairman said, the incident over the weekend was not intentional, it was a crowd control issue, no privileges were given.

“In a pandemic situation, you cannot differentiate between the rich and the poor, you cannot differentiate between nationalities and neither can you differentiate between races because the virus itself does not differentiate.

“The Presidential Task Force is committed to making sure as we move forward, that necessary steps are taken so that this sort of episode does not happen again.”

On why those who attended the burial were not on self-isolation as directed by the Presidency, he said : “In terms of self-isolation, we have clear-cut guidelines for isolation.

“If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we will have to isolate you when we test. If you have had contact with a case of COVID-19, we will isolate you, if you are coming from an area that is of high prevalence, we will isolate you. So this guidelines in terms of self-isolation and quarantine are very clear.”


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