Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari has succumbed to coronavirus.
Kyari, who was in his 70s, had underlying health conditions including diabetes and died of Covid-19 on Friday, Reuters reported.
He was the senior-most official aide to President Buhari, 77, and one of the most powerful men in Nigeria. His passing was confirmed by the presidency spokesperson Gabra Shehu through Twitter.
“The Presidency regrets to announce the passage of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari,” wrote Shehu.
“The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19 and had been receiving treatment. But he died on Friday, April 17, 2020.”
Kyari becomes the first high-ranking Nigerian government official to die of Covid-19. Kyari had led a delegation of Nigerian officials who traveled to Germany early last month for meetings with Siemens AG.
He is said to have attended meetings with government officials upon his return to Nigeria. It is not clear whether he met President Buhari, who spent five months in a UK hospital in 2017 with an undisclosed illness.
As of Saturday, April 18th, Nigeria had 493 confirmed cases of Covid-19, 17 deaths, and 159 recoveries, according to the country’s Centre for Disease Control.