President Buhari’s strongman, Abba Kyari, buried in Abuja


President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, late Malam Abba Kyari, was buried at the Gudu cemetery in Abuja on Saturday (April 18, 2020) morning according to Muslim rites.

The late Abba Kyari being buried at the Gudu cemetery in Abuja on SaturdayThe body of Kyari, who died of complications from COVID-19, was lowered into his grave at exactly 11:30amd.

Scores of top government functionaries, including the Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Senators, former governors and presidential aides, witnessed the burial rites.

The official announcement of Kyari’s death was contained in a statement by Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity.

Adesina stated that Kyari died on Friday, and that funeral arrangements would be announced shortly.

“The Presidency regrets to announce the passage of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari.

“The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19, and had been receiving treatment. But he died on Friday, April 17, 2020.

“May God accept his soul.

“Funeral arrangements will be announced shortly,” Adesina announced.

Kyari was one of the closest advisers to President Buhari.

He died after contracting the novel coronavirus.

A former chief executive officer of United Bank for Africa Plc, Kyari was named chief of staff in August 2015 by president Buhari.

His appointment was renewed after Buhari won a second term in office.

Behind the scenes, he was regarded as one of the powerful politicians in Buhari’s cabinet.

Kyari was reported to had tested positive for coronavirus after returning from a trip to Germany.

A high profile personality, Kyari hailed from the northeastern state of Borno.

He held degrees from the University of Cambridge and University of Warwick in law and sociology, and had worked at Unilever Nigeria Plc, Exxon Mobil, among other companies.

Find below his detailed biography:

Abba Kyari, who had underlying health problems, including diabetes, was one of the high ranking politicians in Nigeria, one of the most powerful men in the country and the top official aide to President Muhammadu Buhari. He was said to have contracted the COVID-19 while on an official trip to Germany in March. He was confirmed to have contracted the virus on March 23, though it was revealed March 30. It was announced that he died of COVID-19 on Friday 17th April.

 (Family and personal life)

 *Early life and education

A Kanuri from Borno, not much is known about his early life. In 1980, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Warwick, and also received a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge. In 1983, he was called to the Nigerian Bar after attending the Nigerian Law School.

In 1984, he obtained a master’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge. He later attended the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland and participated in the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School, in 1992 and 1994, respectively.


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


On March 24, 2020, it was made public that Kyari tested positive for COVID-19 on March 23, following an official trip to Germany nine days after arrival in Nigeria.

*Professional career

Kyari worked for the law firm of Fani-Kayode and Sowemimo for some time after his return to Nigeria.

From 1988 to 1990, he was Editor with the New Africa Holdings Limited Kaduna.

In 1990, he served as a Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in Borno State.

From 1990 to 1995, Kyari was the secretary to the board of African International Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

Kyari was an executive director in charge of management services at the United Bank for Africa, and was later appointed the chief executive officer. In 2002, he was appointed a board director of Unilever Nigeria, and later served on the board of Exxon Mobil Nigeria.

*Political career

In August 2015, Kyari was appointed Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.

 *Power politics

Kyari was an influential figure within the Buhari administration. During the administration’s first term, he worked mainly behind the scenes to implement the president’s agenda. In 2019 with Buhari’s re-election for a second term, he ordered his cabinet to channel all requests through Kyari’s office. Further enhancing his influence within government circles, and being labelled as the de facto head of government.

In 2017, following a leaked memo, Kyari became embroiled in a public argument with the Head of Civil Service, who was later removed from office and arrested. In 2020, in another leaked memo, Babagana Monguno the National Security Adviser accused Kyari of meddling in matters of national security.


Kyari died in a Lagos hospital on 17 April 2020, he died from complications related to COVID-19.

*Honours and Awards

Officer of the Order of the Niger.

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