A Lagos based lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), has called for a probe into the death of Abba Kyari, President Muhammadu Buhari’s former Chief of Staff.
He made the call over alleged inconsistency and double standards of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and lack of coordination on the part of the government.
In a piece on Sunday, which he entitled “Official impunity and hypocrisy in the fight against COVID-19”, Falana said a typical example of impunity and hypocrisy was the case of Abba Kyari, who according to him shunned government-approved isolation centre for a private hospital after testing positive to COVID-19.
He added that rich Nigerians, who had tested positive for the disease, were now doing same, shunning government-approved isolation centres for unapproved private hospitals for treatment.
“Against the NCDC directive, Abba Kyari was allowed to be treated in a private hospital in Ikoyi, Lagos, and since then, influential patients have insisted on treatment in such facilities without official authorization,” he said.
Regretting that this was happening despite the Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire assertion that no private hospital has been accredited to manage COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, Falana maintained that Abba Kyari’s death “ought to be investigated by the Federal Government.”
The senior lawyer insisted that the reason coronavirus cases had remained on the increase in the country was because of the supposed inconsistency, double standards and lack of coordination on the part of the government.
He said, “Since public hospitals are in shambles, the NCDC cannot afford to combat COVID-19 in a slip shot manner. The NCDC should henceforth operate without bending the rules to satisfy partisan political interests. In particular, it must ensure that the burials of all other victims of COVID-19 are carried out in strict compliance with the prescribed rules”.
He also said that it was impunity to have allowed a crowd to participate and witness the interment of Abba Kyari’s remains in violation of safety precautions.
“Upon the conclusion of the ceremony, video clips have been trending in the social media showing the crowd and serial breaches of the NCDC guidelines by highly placed officials and other members of the public at the burial site.
“Some governors have suspended lockdown for Juma’at prayers at a time that the authorities in Saudi Arabia have banned any gathering for prayers and pilgrimages. In view of recent reports which have confirmed community transmission of coronavirus, lifting of the ban for religious purposes ought to be reviewed,” he said.
He added, “President Buhari has paid a glowing tribute to the late Mr. Abba Kyari. But the greatest tribute that can be paid to the deceased and other citizens that have lost their lives on account of COVID-19 complications is that Federal, State and Local Governments must embark on fixing and equipping public hospitals without further delay.”
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