The federal government has refused to confirm the health status of the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, after he reportedly tested positive to COVID-19.
The information minister, Lai Mohammed, did not, however, deny that Mr Kyari had tested positive when he was asked by journalists on Tuesday.
“We don’t mention names in carrying out this responsibility. It’s a global practice so you don’t expect us to mention any name to you,” he told State House correspondents.
Mr Mohammed was part of the Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus that inspected Mr Kyari’s office within the Presidential Villa on Tuesday,
The task force, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, arrived at the Villa around 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday.
Mr Mustapha and other members of the task force, comprising ministers and health experts, spent about 10 minutes inspecting the office.
They were approached by journalists on their way out of the office but they declined comments, saying Nigerians should await their usual press briefing.
However, in response to repeated questions on Mr Kyari’s coronavirus status, Mr Mohammed passively made his comment.
Thisday newspaper early Tuesday reported that Mr Kyari tested positive to COVID-19.
Since then, the presidency and health officials have chosen to keep mum despite several requests by PREMIUM TIMES on the matter.
Mr Kyari is believed to have been infected when he travelled to Germany between March 7 and 14 on an official function.
He was only confirmed positive on Monday, Thisday reports.
On Tuesday, neither Mr Mohammed nor any of the task force officials denied the report.
After Mr Mohammed’s response to the State House reporters, Mr Mustapha advised journalists to imbibe the culture of wearing face masks to protect themselves from the disease.
“You people should start wearing face mask please. I can see that you are not taking this thing serious. Wear face masks please. It is not a joke,” he said.
Nigeria has recorded 42 cases of COVID-19 including one death.
The disease has caused the death of over 15,000 people globally.