Abba Kyari, Achimugu, el-Rufai, Dokpesi — heavyweight casualties, survivors of COVID-19 so far

Abba Kyari, Achimugu, el-Rufai, Dokpesi — heavyweight casualties, survivors of COVID-19 so far
June 01
16:59 2020

COVID-19 cases in Nigeria crossed the 10,000 mark on Saturday — with hundreds of deaths, including those of political heavyweights.

As of April 30, Nigeria recorded 1,932 COVID-19 cases, 319 recoveries and 58 deaths.

This was about two months after the country recorded its index case of the disease on February 27.

But in May, the number of deaths recorded from COVID-19 increased from 58 to 287.

This implies nearly 400 percent rise in COVID-19 death rate in Nigeria.

The number of confirmed cases also increased from 1,932 as of the end of April to 10,162 at the end of May.

Like in other countries, some notable persons in Nigeria have become casualties of COVID-19.

Here are some prominent Nigerians who have died of COVID-19 so far.


On April 17, the presidency was hit by an unexpected loss of one of its key members. Abba Kyari, the late chief of staff to the president, lost the battle to COVID-19.

Kyari who died at the age of 67, had gone on self-isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus late March. He was subsequently moved to Lagos for treatment.

Alongside Sale Mamman, minister of power, the late chief of staff had attended a meeting in Germany with officials of Siemens to discuss issues relating to the Nigerian power sector.

His death triggered several tributes in his honour with President Muhammadu Buhari describing him as “the very best of us”.

Buhari, who said he met Kyari in his 20s, also described him as a great patriot.

About a month after the death of Kyari, the president appointed Ibrahim Gambari, former UN under secretary-general, as his chief of staff.


Suleiman Achimugu, former managing director of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), also succumbed to COVID-19.

On March 23, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed Achimugwu as the first to die of the disease in the country.

Achimugu was said to have had underlying medical issues and had been undergoing chemotherapy for cancer in a UK hospital.

The 67-year-old was caught by the cold hands of death after he returned from the UK.

At age 25, Achimugu joined the NNPC in 1978 as chemical engineer II. 20 years later, after serving in a couple of departments in the corporation, he was named general manager, turn around maintenance and projects in the refining and petrochemicals directorate at the NNPC’s corporate headquarters.

In November 2003, he was appointed managing director of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), and in 2007, he was appointed the group general manager of Renewable Energy Division of the NNPC.


On May 3, Abdullahi Sule, governor of Nasarawa, announced the demise of Suleiman Adamu, a lawmaker in the state.

Adamu, a lawmaker representing Nasarawa central at the state house of assembly, died of complications of the coronavirus.

Suleiman is the first patient to die of the disease in the state. He died before the result of his test came back positive.

His death came five days after the state recorded its index case of the disease.

The index case was a 25-year-old lady who travelled from Kano state to Kokona local government area in Nasarawa.

Following the death of the lawmaker, the governor said the house of assembly complex would be closed and all lawmakers quarantined to curb a further spread of the disease.


On April 15, the Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) announced the death of Chugbo Emeka, a medical doctor.

The doctor reportedly died at the isolation ward of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) after being exposed to a COVID-19 patient at his private clinic.

The medical doctor is one of the many health workers who became casualties of the disease.

A week before Emeka’s death, Aliyu Yakubu, a 60-year-old medical doctor based in Katsina state, died from complications of COVID-19.

On April 17, Dominic Essien, a medical doctor, died in Akwa Ibom state after displaying symptoms of COVID-19

On April 19, Babangida Buba, a retired nurse in Borno state also passed on after displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

This compelled some doctors and nurses at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital to undergo quarantine.

On May 31, Naseer Adam, a doctor with the Federal Medical Centre, Birnin Kudu, Jigawa state, also died after treating a COVID-19 patient at the health facility.

The patient the doctor managed was said to have had an acute respiratory infection and later tested positive for COVID-19.


On April 21, a police officer in Edo state lost his life to the coronavirus.

Patrick Okundia, Edo commissioner for health who confirmed the death, described it as “unfortunate”.

The commissioner said “it is not very clear how he got the infection, but he developed some illnesses”.

Another policeman died of COVID-19 complications at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abeokuta, Ogun state, on May 10.


On May 23, Abia state government announced the death of Solomon Ogunji, its commissioner for environment.

He was said to have died at Abia State University Teaching Hospital “after a brief illness related to high blood pressure”.

After his demise, John Kalu, the state commissioner for information, in a statement, directed state officials to self-isolate following the outcome of COVID-19 tests done on the family members of the deceased.

He also asked the members of the state committee on COVID-19 response to do the same, adding that the governor and other members of the state executive council will observe necessary precautions.


El-Rufai, after recovery from COVID-19

The number of patients who have recovered from the disease in Nigerian is on the rise.

On April 22, Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, recovered from COVID-19, after nearly four weeks of undergoing treatment.

On April 9, Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi state, announced his recovery from COVID-19 after testing positive for the infection on March 24.

Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo, also recovered from the disease on April 5 — six days after undergoing self-isolation having tested positive for the virus.

Makinde, Oyo governor

Mohammed Abubakar, son of Nigeria’s former vice-president, recovered from COVID-19 after spending 40 days in the hospital.

In April, Jesse Otegbayo, chief medical director, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo state, tested negative for COVID-19.

The development came five days after the CMD initially tested positive for the disease.


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