The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has admitted that the dignitaries that attended the burial of the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, committed errors health wise.
Mustapha said this on Monday he in a statement he issued following the criticism by Nigerians of the conduct of most of those who attended the burial in Abuja.
Among the drawbacks pointed out by Nigerians on the burial held at the Gudu Cemetery in Abuja, were failure to observe the maximum number of people at a single gathering and failure to abide by social distancing.
In the statement on Monday, Mustapha acknowledged these shortcomings.
He wrote: “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 guidelines.
“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.”