Nigerian politicians in self-isolation over virus scare

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's chief of staff, Abba Kyari, who is in his 70s, has tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's chief of staff, Abba Kyari, who is in his 70s, has tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Image: REUTERS/ CARLO ALLEGRI

Senior Nigerian politicians, including a number of state governors and the vice president, were in self-isolation on Wednesday after coming into contact with two individuals infected with coronavirus.

Governor Godwin Obaseki of the southern state of Edo “has gone into self-isolation” and is undergoing a coronavirus test, his advisor, Crusoe Osagie, said in a statement.

“I just took a Covid-19 test, having gone into self-isolation since yesterday evening,” Kayode Fayemi, the governor of Ekiti state, said on Twitter.

“I’m asymptomatic and feel well, but I was in meetings with two people who had since tested positive. I look forward to an all-clear and have encouraged all my colleagues to take the test. ”

Osagie said Obaseki had gone into self-isolation after Bala Mohammed, the governor of Bauchi state, and President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari, tested positive.

Mohammed said Tuesday that he had tested positive for the new virus.

Sources in the president’s office and local media said that Kyari had also been confirmed positive.

Kyari, who according to the press is in his seventies, has the reputation of being Buhari’s right-hand man.

The political elite “is in panic mode following the confirmed case of the chief of staff,” said a source close to the presidency.

“As the engine room of government, (Kyari) has contact with various segments of the society. So everybody who has had contact with him since he returned from Germany is jittery. Most of us are in self-isolation.”

Sixteen governors were in direct contact with Kyari at a meeting of the ruling party attended also by Buhari and his vice president, Yemi Osinbajo.

“I have been inundated with calls on whether indeed the VP had undergone a COVID-19 test and the outcome. Yes he has, and (the) results (were) negative,” his spokesman said.

Osinbajo also went into self-isolation as a precaution.

The wave of concern at the top level of Nigerian politics has sparked acerbic reactions on social media.

Many commentators noted that the country’s elite typically went abroad for medical care, favouring Britain or the United States, rather than entrusting themselves to the country’s rundown hospitals.

“STUCK!," said author Elnathan John. “Nowhere to run.”

Buhari, 77, who was re-elected in February last year, made several trips to London during his first four-year term for a condition that has never been disclosed.


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