Femi Falana, a human rights activist and lawyer, has said the greatest tribute that President Muhammdu Buhari can pay to the late Abba Kyari, his erstwhile chief of staff, is to fix and equip all public hospitals.
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Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said this in a statement issued on Sunday in reaction to the controversies surrounding the burial of the late Kyari.
The senior lawyer questioned why the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Federal Ministry of Health, and the Lagos State Ministry of Health allowed the late Kyari to be treated in a private hospital despite the country’s current protocol.
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He noted that Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, has said no private hospital in the country has been accredited to treat COVID-19 patients, alleging that the preferring treatment accorded the late chief of staff was inconsistent and double standards.
The statement read: “While the NCDC has directed anyone who tests positive to COVID-19 to report for treatment in isolation centres for treatment and monitoring former Chief of Staff to the President, the late Mr. Abba Kyari. was allowed to be treated in a cardiological centre, a private hospital in Ikoyi, Lagos State.
“Since then some influential people who tested positive to COVID-19 are said to have insisted on treatment in private hospitals without official authorisation.
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“Unfortunately, Mr. Kyari passed on last Friday. Embarrased by the unfortunate development the Lagos State Government was reported to have that the hospital was granted permission to treat COVID-19 patients. But the health minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has categorically asserted that :“As at today, there is no private hospital that has been accredited to manage Covid-19 case in Nigeria.
“Since no private hospital has been accredited by the NCDC to treat COVID-19 patients the death of Mr. Abba Kyari ought to be investigated by the Federal Government.”
Falana also insisted that the mass gathering of persons without regards to social distancing during the late Kyari’s burial indicated that the NCDC and health authorities were operating to satisfy partisan political interests.
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“As if the fundamental breach of the rule of COVID-19 Guidelines on treatment of patients was not enough, a crowd was allowed to participate and witness the interment of the remains Mr. Kyari. Thus the NCDC Guideline that mass gathering be avoided to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 was violated with impunity.
“Apart from defying the directive on social distancing some members of the crowd disregarded the wearing of face masks. And in a rather bizzare manner, a man who had taken part in the burial ceremony pulled off his dress pulled off his Person Protective Equipment(PPE) and left it beside a car in Maitama District, Abuja.
“Upon the conclusion of the burial ceremony video clips have been trending in the social media showing the crowd and the serial breaches of the NCDC Guidelines by highly placed public officers and other members of the public at the burial site,” the statement read.
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The senior lawyer stated that the NCDC must ensure that, henceforth, burials of all other victims of COVID-19 are carried out in strict compliance with the prescribed rules and guidelines.
“No doubt, President Buhari has paid glowing tribute to the late Mr. Abba Kyari. But the greatest tribute that can be paid to the deceased and the other 18 citizens that have lost their precious lives on account of complications arising from COVID-19 is for the Federal, State and Local Governments to embark on fixing and equipping public hospitals without any further delay,” Falana said.