The burial of the late Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, on 18 April
2020, has attracted a lot of concerns from Nigerians over the
non-adherence to the physical distancing measures and mass gathering
restrictions at the Gudu Cemetery.

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.

It is however important to state that the body of the late Chief of
Staff, who died on 17 April 2020, was prepared for burial in line with
the NCDC interim guidelines for the safe management of a
deceased person with COVID-19 infection.

As a matter of fact, the body of anyone who dies from COVID-19
infection will not be released for burial without following these

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.

It is worth noting that while COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that
is significantly less infectious when compared to Ebola or Lassa
fever, the protocols for safe burial must still be strictly followed.

The incidents that were recorded after the burial, which may have
compromised due safety procedures, have been duly recognized and
correct steps taken to limit any risk to the public.

Mr. Boss Mustapha
Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19