The Presidency has reacted to the crowd that attended the burial rites of former chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, at the Gudu cemetery, Abuja, on Saturday.
Nigerians criticised the disregard for the social distancing protocol at the funeral.
Speaking to journalists, Garba Shehu, the President’s aide on media and publicity, who attended the burial, said there was nothing they could do to stop the crowd.
Shehu said they did not invite the crowd to the funeral, and could not have invited soldiers to flog and chase them away.
He explained further that the burial was delayed in the attempt to maintain social distancing, but had to proceed as more people kept trooping to the cemetery
“Was there any invitation for the public to come for the burial? Go back to my Twitter handle and read what I posted. From 10am, when we picked up the body at the airport, we sent a message out that the funeral will be private and that the public should please go and pray for Abba Kyari.
“We also said no condolence visits to the President and family. What can we do? Are we going to invite soldiers to flog people who came to pay their last respect to the man?
“We didn’t invite people. We were trying to move people back and observe social distancing and it was delaying the funeral. We just have to do it because people are not ready to leave. What are we going to do?” he queried.