The Presidency on Sunday explained why it directed ministers and journalists that attended the burial of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, to stay away from the Aso Rock Villa.
Those who attended the burial in Abuja on Saturday included National Coordinator COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu; former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima; and Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika. Others are the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari; Minister of Communications, Isa Pantami and Garba Shehu.
Restricting access of some presidential aides into the Presidential Villa is aimed at stopping further spread of COVID-19, Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesperson, has said.
According to reliable sources, President Muhammadu Buhari was not happy that the aides decided to violate clear protocols and guidelines of the NCDC and he directed that they should keep off the Presidential Villa to undergo self-isolation.
Some of the aides reportedly barred from the villa include State House Chief Protocol Officer, Lawal Kazaure; Special Assistant to the President, Yusuf Sabiu; a nephew to the president, Musa Daura, and Mr Shehu.
Others are National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Ahmad Rufai, Personal Assistant on New Media to President Buhari, Bashir Ahmed and some ministers among several more persons.
However, in a series of tweet, Mr Shehu stated that the directive to stay away from the villa is not out of place.
“There is nothing extraordinary about those of us who attend Abba Kyari’s funeral being advised to distance ourselves from the Villa.
“For the most part, the Villa has operated digitally in the last few weeks so there is really nothing new to this,” he said.