Two days after it was confirmed that Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, had contracted the deadly Coronavirus, facts have emerged on how he flagrantly disregarded safety warnings by officials of Ministry of Health, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, and the Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus headed by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
Top officials of the ministry and NCDC told SaharaReporters on Thursday that the whole Coronavirus crisis in the Presidency and indeed Nigeria's power circle could have been totally different today if Kyari, one of the most influential figures in Buhari’s regime, had not deliberately flouted safety instructions after returning to the country following visits to Germany and Egypt earlier this month.
Both countries have hundreds of confirmed infections together and dozens of deaths from the virus.
Upon his return to Nigeria from those countries, it was reliably gathered that Kyari, who has a history of diabetes and is in his 70s, refused to observe the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period, instead going about his normal activities and subjecting dozens of persons including ministers, state governors and Aso Villa staff to the risk of contracting the virus.
Already three of his staff had tested positive for the virus.
After returning to Nigeria on March 13, Kyari attended the wedding of the son of the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammad Adamu, in company with Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, and business tycoon, Aliko Dangote.
Two days later, Kyari attended a meeting of All Progressives Congress governors with President Buhari on March 16.
The meeting was attended by 16 out of the 20 governors of the ruling party.
He also had an encounter with the embattled National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole.
On March 17, Kyari led a delegation to Okene, Kogi State, to commiserate with Governor Yahaya Bello over the loss of his mother.
He shook hands with Bello and had close contacts with several guests at the event.
That same day after returning to Abuja, Kyari attended a briefing session by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council led by Prof Doyin Salami.
The two men had close contact and even took pictures together.
On March 18, Kyari attended the Federal Executive Council meeting while the next day he was at the inauguration of the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee.
SaharaReporters gathered that Kyari moved round these places despite strict warnings by the Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus that all persons returning from high risk countries for the virus like Germany and United Kingdom should self-isolate for 14 days.
“It is not the first time that we have seen him act in this manner.
"He flouts the law regularly and he has always gotten away with it until now,” a source said in reference to Kyari.
Ironically, in a leaked memo dated March 21, 2020 addressed to Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Kyari expressed displeasure at the refusal of legislators to undergo Coronavirus checks at the country's airports upon arriving Nigeria.
According to him, this could jeopardise all efforts put in place by government to curtail the spread of the deadly virus.
In the memo, Kyari had said, "It has been brought to the attention of the Honourable Minister of Health recently that some members of the House of Representatives are refusing to subject themselves to medical screening at airports.
"As you are aware, these screenings are our primary line of defence and refusal by any citizen to subject to these tests is a threat to our nation.
"Accordingly, you are kindly requested to direct all members of the House of Representatives who returned to Nigeria from foreign trips to report themselves to the nearest NCDC test centre with immediate effect."
However, with the latest development, it is now evidently clear that Kyari was in fact the biggest breaker of the rule he castigated others of flouting.
Following his flagrant disregard for laid down rules, NCDC and Ministry of Health officials fear that tracing all possible contacts with him and curtailing the further spread of the virus could be tougher than initially expected.
“I don’t think the NCDC can trace everyone who shook hands with or met him at meetings and functions and that is why we are asking everyone who were at those gatherings to immediately self-isolate even if they don’t display any symptoms at all,” the source told SaharaReporters.
Following Kyari's infection and contact with Buhari, SaharaReporters on Tuesday exclusively reported that the Presidential Intensive Care Unit was activated for the number one citizen's use especially after he started coughing severely and caused panic among Presidency officials.
Buhari has a yet to be disclosed medical ailment and in fact spent five months in London, United Kingdom in 2017 for treatment.
He has visited UK several times more since that period for treatment.
Activities inside Aso Villa have already been suspended in a bid to curtail the spread of the virus inside Nigeria's 'power factory'.
With Kyari's current ordeal, there are growing concerns that decision making on key issues in government could be suspended, slowing down the progress of the country in almost every aspect.
Already, the confirmed number of infections has risen to 51 in Nigeria with one recorded death.