Abba Kyari's Burial: SGF denies issuing statement over violation of lockdown rules

Abba Kyari's Burial: SGF denies issuing statement over violation of lockdown rules

Nigeria's presidential task force on COVID-19 has denied issuing any statement apologising to the public over the flouting of social distancing measures witnessed during the burial of the former chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari.

The statement, which has been reported by some media platforms, is said to have been signed by the secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha.

There have been backlash from Nigerians when they saw pictures and videos of top government officials flouting the rules on social distancing put in place to curtail the coronavirus scourge ravaging the country.

Mr Mustapha, who doubles as the chairman of the task force, has been responsible for the coordination of the activities of the team in the testing and management of coronavirus cases in Nigeria.

On Monday afternoon, a statement credited to the task force, surfaced across major social media platforms including WhatsApp and Facebook pages.

The statement, which was titled; "We Acknowledge Mistakes Made during Burial of Late CoS – PTF," noted that the apology was in response to the concerns raised by Nigerians "over the non-adherence to the physical distancing measures and mass gathering restrictions at the Gudu Cemetery."

It reads in part; "The nonobservance of physical distancing and the flouting of mass gathering restrictions at the cemetery were due to the failure of crowd control measures.

"We acknowledge that mistakes were made, we have learnt from these mistakes and would ensure that future events are adequately regulated in accordance with the Presidential Task Force and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocols."

The statement, however, added that the body of the late chief of staff, was prepared for burial in line with the NCDC interim guidelines for the safe management of a deceased person with COVID-19 infection.

The statement said; "As a matter of fact, the body of anyone who dies from COVID-19 infection will not be released for burial without following these guidelines.

"Consequently, the body of the late Chief of Staff was thoroughly decontaminated, put in a body bag and then a sealed coffin in Lagos before being flown to Abuja. On arrival in Abuja, all safety measures required to protect those handling the body were strictly adhered to, from the plane to the burial ground. At no time was the body openly exposed to the environment."

Meanwhile the director of press at the office of the SGF, Willie Bassey, said the statement is fake.

According to Mr Bassey, "it was a calculated attempt to ridicule the office and the person of the SGF." He urged Nigerians to disregard the report.

"The statement is fake, and an attempt to ridicule the SGF. Kindly disregard," Mr Bassey said.

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