The Presidency has directed all State House correspondents and staff of Aso Rock Media Office who covered and attended the funeral prayer and burial of the late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, to stay off the Presidential Villa and proceed on self-isolation for 14 days.
Kyari died of coronavirus on Friday in Lagos, and his body was flown to Abuja where prayers were held for him at Defence House, Abuja, and burial held at the Gudu Cemetery, Abuja, with many people, some not properly kitted, in attendance even as it was broadcast on live television.
This raised concerns that social distancing as recommended at this period was not observed, and apprehension heightened as one of the officials that carried out the burial was also seen in a viral video disposing of his personal protective equipment (PPE) near the scene of the burial without taking proper precautions.
A statement signed by Attah Esa, a Deputy Director of Information, on Sunday therefore directed the newsmen who covered the event to work from home for the next 14 days.
The statement said: “As a precautionary measure, all State House Correspondents and Media Office Staff who covered/attended the funeral prayer/burial ceremony of the late Chief of Staff, at Defence House and Gudu Cemetery Abuja, respectively, are strongly advised to work from home for the next 14 days.
“Please be careful to observe the recommended measures to prevent the coronavirus transmission, including maintaining physical distancing and good personal hygiene going forward.”
Before then, President Muhammadu Buhari’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, had tweeted that: “There is nothing extraordinary about those of us who attend Abba Kyari’s funeral being advised to distance ourselves from the Villa.
“This is in line with the standard rules put in place by the National Center for Disease Control, NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health.
“You do these things to stop the spread of Coronavirus. For the most part, the Villa has operated digitally in the last few weeks so there is really nothing new to this.”
The Presidency had in the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus in Abuja, scaled down the number of media organizations allowed access to cover its activities.