Prince Tony Momoh, a former Minister of Information, has defended the Presidency on the crowd that attended the burial of Abba Kyari, former Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.
The late Kyari died on Friday in Lagos after complications from COVID-19 and was buried in Gudu cemetery, Abuja on Saturday.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President had said they never invited the crowd that came to pay last respects to the late Kyari and couldn’t have driven them out of the venue.
Speaking in a chat with INDEPENDENT, Momoh, one of the national leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said but for the circumstances surrounding Kyari’s death, the burial would have witnessed mammoth crowd more than what was seen on Saturday.
Momoh, who said the presidency had done its part by announcing that the burial will be private said it is expected that the burial of a prominent personality like Kyari will witness a large crowd and there is nothing the government could do to stop the attendees.
“How could you drive people away like that? There is no way they could drive people away. Look at the United States of America for example. Many people are demonstrating, calling on President Trump to suspend the lockdown because they want to go back to work.
“If something happens like that suddenly, like the death of the former Chief of Staff, you cannot account for some people’s behaviour”.
A lot of people were at the burial, even in his home town in Maiduguri, it was filled as a lot of people came to pay condolence. It is natural and there is nothing the Presidency could have done.
“If not for the circumstances, the burial would have witnessed a mammoth crowd, considering the status of Kyari. But the reality is that people were there and there is hardly anybody you could have chased away. Is it the Ministers that you would have removed? Is it some government officials that you would have asked to go? There is nothing the presidency could have done. It is unfortunate.”
When asked why the Federal Government didn’t bury the corpse in a private place instead of a public cemetery, Momoh said “Muslims don’t have private places for burial and that is the simplicity of Islam. Someone passes on and you bury that person without ceremony.
“They don’t put the body in a mortuary and build a house or private tomb to bury the person. When someone dies today, you bury the person today”.