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Mr Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said on Sunday the greatest tribute the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), could pay to the 19 deceased victims of COVID-19 in Nigeria, including his former Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, who died on Friday, was for governments at all levels to mend public hospitals.

Falana, who made the call in a statement, also attributed the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria to official hypocrisy, impunity and the lack of coordination between federal and state governments in the efforts to combat the pandemic in Nigeria.

Falana said, “From the foregoing, it is indisputable that there is an obvious lack of a legible COVID-19 policy. This puts to question dangerously the seriousness of the Federal Government in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“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.

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“Just last week, the British Prime Minister, Mr Boris Johnson, who was discharged from a public hospital in London after his treatment for COVID-19, was full of adulation for the National Health Service of his country.

That should be a sober lesson for members of the ruling class in Nigeria, who usually spend public funds on medical treatment in foreign medical centres.” Kyari, who was believed to have held the highest level of influence in the Buhari regime, died of COVID-19 complications on Friday and was interred in Gudu Cemetery, Abuja, on Saturday.

Falana stated on Sunday that Kyari’s burial, which drew a crowd of people including top government officials, was handled with impunity as it was conducted in disregard of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control’s directive on social distancing. He also cited how Kyari, until his death on Friday, was treated in a private cardiological hospital in Lagos at a time the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said no private hospital had been granted permission to treat the disease.

He stated, “While the NCDC has directed anyone who tests positive for 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.

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