6 Facts About Buhari’s Late Chief Of Staff Abba Kyari. One of the most influential figures in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, has died of the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The Chief of Staff to the President died on Friday, April 17, 2020, according to a statement issued by the presidency in the early hours of Saturday. 


Kyari, who tested positive for COVID-19 on March 24, 2020 after returning from an official trip in Germany, was said to have died in a Lagos hospital where he was receiving treatment. 

Below are five things to know about the president’s late chief of staff:

  1. He Lived A Private Life

Abba Kyari was known to be a very private person during his lifetime, such that not much was known about him and his family. 

Despite occupying a powerful position as chief of staff for five years and as President Buhari’s right-hand man, Kyari managed to maintain this quality. 

The Kanuri from Borno State was married to the sister-in-law of Second Republic politician, Ibrahim Tahir, and was survived by four children. 

  1. Education 

Kyari held a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Warwick, and a Bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge. 

The deceased was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1983, after which he obtained a Master’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge in 1984. 

Kyari also did professional courses at the Harvard Business School and the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland.

  1. Career 

After his return to Nigeria, Kyari practiced his law profession for some time with the Fani-Kayode and Sowemimo law firm.

He also served as the Editor of the New Africa Holdings Limited Kaduna, which published the defunct The Democrat based in Kaduna, from 1988 to 1990. 

Between 1999 to 2002, Kyari held other top positions to include  Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in Borno State, Secretary to the Board of the then African International Bank Limited, Executive Director, Management Services, United Bank for Africa Plc. (UBA),  Managing Director and Chief Executive, UBA, Director of Unilever Nigeria Plc., and Director of ExxonMobil Nigeria. 

The deceased had received the prestigious Nigerian Honor Award of Officer of the Order of the Niger (O.O.N).

  1. Buhari’s Gatekeeper 

Kyari was first appointed chief of staff to the president in 2015 after Buhari’s first election as president.

He was reappointed in 2019 after Buhari was re-elected president. 

Kyari generally worked behind the scenes, assisting President Buhari to solve problems as they arose.

He was believed to be Buhari’s most trusted confidant, acting as the president’s sounding board for ideas.

He attended virtually all of the president’s meetings, press briefings and was always seen everywhere the president went to. 

  1. Rumoured Death

Kyari was falsely reported to have died days after he announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. 

The rumours followed a tweet by controversial journalist, Ms Kemi Olunloyo, who had claimed that a “high ranking member of the president’s cabinet” was dead. 

But presidential aide, Bashir Ahmad, was quick to refute the rumours, saying Kyari was, “in Lagos  responding well to treatment.”

Kyari’s eventual death on Friday was announced in a press statement by President Buhari’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

6. Family

Kyari was married to the sister-in-law of Ibrahim Tahir, and had four children.

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6 Facts About Buhari’s Late Chief Of Staff Abba Kyari


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