Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Mallam Garba Shehu on Sunday confirmed that he and some presidential aides were barred from the State House after attending the burial if the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, in Abuja.
Saharareporters had stated on Saturday night that President Muhammadu Buhari barred Shehu and a number of presidential aides from returning to the State House after the burial of the CoS, who died in Friday in Lagos of Coronavirus.
They were ordered to go into isolation for 14 days as required by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
Kyari was buried in Gudu Cemetery at a ceremony that was widely condemned because the mourners did not adhere to presidential directives on social distancing.
One of the mourners even touched Kyari’s face at the burial.
Apart from Shehu, others barred from the Presidential Villa include the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; Director-General, Nigeria Intelligence Agency, Ahmad Rufai; State House Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure; the Personal Assistant on New Media, Bashir Ahmad; and Buhari’s nephew, Musa Haro Daura.
Confirming the exclusion order, Shehu said on Twitter: “There is nothing extraordinary about those of us who attend Abba Kyari’s funeral being advised to distance ourselves from the Villa.
“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.”
His comments were, however, greeted with outrage as respondents lambasted him for not bothering about the possibility of community spread of the disease.