Nigerian president's top aide tests positive for coronavirus: source

ABUJA (Reuters) – The Nigerian president’s chief of staff has tested positive for coronavirus, a source with direct knowledge said.

Abba Kyari, who is in his 70s, is an important figure in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and his illness could have ramifications for the running of the country.

Kyari has a history of medical complications, including diabetes, and is the gatekeeper to the president. Many who wish to deal with Buhari must go through Kyari, including Nigeria’s top politicians and businessmen.

Matthew Page, an associate fellow with the Africa Programme at Chatham House, described him Kyari as the “lynchpin” of the Buhari government.

“This has the potential to further slow down decision making within top tiers of Nigerian government,” he said.

Kyari traveled to Germany in early March with a delegation of other Nigerian officials for meetings with Siemens AG. It is unclear if he self-isolated upon his return to Nigeria.

A presidency spokesman did not comment on whether Buhari, has been tested. The president, who is aged 77, has undisclosed medical ailments and spent five months in London for treatments in 2017.

As of Monday, Nigeria had 40 confirmed cases, two of whom had recovered, and one death – a 67-year-old former oil official. It was unclear if Kyari’s diagnosis was included in that total.

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