By Oluwole Francis
Indications emerged at the weekend that COVID-19 has crept into the Nigerian Presidential Villa, Abuja, allegedly afflicting some Presidential aides and State House officials.
A number of close aides of President Muhammadu Buhari were diagnosed with COVID-19 infection and reportedly asked to self-isolate while taking treatment.
Among those diagnosed with the infection after PCR test results were released are the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu; the Aide-de-Camp (ADC), Yusuf Dodo; and Chief Security Officer (CSO), Aliyu Musa.
Confirming his health status to The Nation on Saturday evening, Shehu said he had been diagnosed with the infection and had been advised to self-isolate, an instruction which he said he was heeding, even as he has been taking his prescribed medication.
He, however, said he had no confirmation about the diagnosis for the other persons mentioned by the online newspaper as being diagnosed with the virus and removed for quarantine.
“Have you read the Premium Times report? What I said in it is the truth to the best of my knowledge; what is true is that I know about myself that I’m self-isolating and taking my medication, but I know of no other case”, Shehu said.
The report also claimed that the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed, as well as the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Alhaji Tijani Umar, were also diagnosed with the infection.
However, both the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Mohammed, and the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Umar, have been seen in the Villa on Thursday and Friday.
Meanwhile, it should be pointed out that testing for COVID-19 had recently been ramped up in the Presidential Villa in the wake of the Omicron variant to ensure the containment of the virus.