Since the first case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) was confirmed in the country on 27 February 2020, many Nigerians-rich and poor have fallen prey to the dreaded virus.
As of early hours of 31 December 2020, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) put the number of COVID-19 deaths at 1,278.
While the number could be seen as an insignificant fraction of Nigeria’s over 200 million people, the COVID-19 hands of death have laid on some prominent individuals, thereby having a major effect on the nation’s polity and economy.
From Abba Kyari, President Muhammadu Buhari’s then powerful Chief of Staff to Abiola Ajimobi, former Oyo State governor, from the General Officer Commander (GOC) 8th division, General Irefin to Cross River Commissioner of Police, Jimoh and many other influential Nigerians.
PlatinumPost profiles some of the prominent personalities who breathed their last in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.
Abba Kyari (67) – died on 17 April
The Borno State-born Kyari was the Chief of Staff to President Buhari before his death. Many regarded him as the de facto head of state due to the enormous powers he wielded in the Buhari’s administration.
Anyone who wanted to see the president, including ministers and governors, had to go through him.
He died from COVID-19 complications at First Cardiology Consultant, Lagos, on 17 April and was buried in Gudu cemetery, Abuja the following day.
Abiola Ajimobi (70) – died on 25 June
A former senator/two-time governor of Oyo State, Ajimobi’s death took many by surprise as he was said to have been hale and hearty before his unfortunate exposure to the virus.
He died at the time the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was enmeshed in leadership crisis and Ajimobi, who happened to be the national deputy chairman of the party (South), was being positioned to take over the affairs of the party following the unceremonious removal of Adams Oshiomhole as chairman before death struck.
He was said to have been in coma for several days at First Cardiology Consultants, Lagos, before he finally succumbed to the COVID-19 complications.
Buruji Kashamu (62) – died on 8 August 2020
Kashamu was a Nigerian politician who served as a Senator representing Ogun East in the 8th National Assembly.
He was a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State and the 2019 factional gubernatorial candidate of the party.
Kashamu was also known for his several court cases with the Federal Government over plans to extradite him to the United States on drugs-related charges.
He was arrested in 1998 in the United Kingdom on the same charges after allegedly trying to enter the country with $230,000 in cash. He was acquitted and released in 2003.
British authorities refused a US extradition request on drugs charges, citing concerns about his identity, however, Nigerian authorities announced their intention to deport him to the US on multiple occasions.
Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president, warned that his freedom illustrated that “drug barons … will buy candidates, parties and eventually buy power or be in power themselves”.
Kashamu finally left everything in the world behind when he died of COVID-19 on 8 August 2020 at the famous and high class First Cardiology Consultants, Lagos.
Senator Saidu Kumo (71) – died on 27 December
A former senator from Gombe State, Kumo died on Sunday 27 December at Gwagwalada hospital in Abuja where he was receiving treatment for a suspected case of COVID-19.
The vibrant politician represented Gombe Central Constituency in the Senate between 1999 and 2003 on the platform of the All People’s Party (APP) which later became the All Nigeria Peoples Party.
He also served briefly as a special adviser to President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2008.
Bayo Osinowo (64) – died on 15 June
Osinowo was a senator that represented Lagos East Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
He was known to be vocal in urging the public to be mindful of the dreaded virus.
Fondly called Pepper by his political admirers, Osinowo, who was also a former member of Lagos State House of Assembly, was a loyal and strong member of Bola Tinubu political dynasty in the centre of excellence’s state before he breathed his last on June 15 at the age of 64.
Sam Nda-Isaiah (58) – died on 11 December
Samuel Ndanusa Isaiah, popularly known as Sam Nda-Isaiah, was a Nigerian political columnist, pharmacist, entrepreneur and journalist.
He was the founder and chairman of the Leadership Newspaper.
The one time APC presidential aspirant and Kakaki of Nupe, died on Friday, 11th December, 2020 at the Gwagwalada Teaching Hospital, Abuja after suffering from a suspected case of COVID-19.
He was laid to rest at the Gudu cemetery, Abuja, on 28 December, 2020, in accordance with the NCDC’s COVID-19 burial protocol.
Jerry Agada (68) -died on 22 December
Prof. Jerry Agada was the National President of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Education.
Agada, who was also a one time gubernatorial aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was reported to have died from COVID-19 related complications after on 22 December at a Makurdi hospital after being on admission for almost two weeks.
He was a prolific writer and author of many books.
Gen. Olu Irefin – died on 10 December
Major General Olu Irefin, who was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Port Harcourt in Rivers State died in Abuja on 10 December.
He was attending the 2020 Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference during which he fell ill and was taken to the Gwagwalada hospital. He tested positive for COVID-19 and was receiving treatment before he died.
Irefin’s death after he had buried his mother 13 days earlier, generated several reactions, with his kinsmen from Ayetoro community in Kogi State crying foul play on the manner the military authorities handled his brief illness.
They also questioned the army over its “haste in the burial” of Irefin.
The leader of proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, also in reaction to the General’s death said killing of innocent persons has consequences.
IPOB had accused Irefin and Governor Nyesom Wike of mobilising troops to kill “innocent Biafran people” in Oyigbo, following the crisis that trailed #EndSARS protest in the area.
Danlami Hamza (70) – died on 27 December
Danlami Hamza, a former House of Representatives member for Fagge Federal Constituency, Kano, died as a result of COVID-19 complications on 27 December.
He was admitted on 26 December at a COVID-19 isolation centre at Kwanar Dawaki in Kano only to die the following day.
The former lawmaker contested against the present House of Representatives member for Fagge, Aminu Sulaiman Goro, in 2015 but lost the election again.
Femi Odekunle (77) – died on 29 December
Odekunle, the first professor of Criminology in Nigeria and a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) succumbed to COVID-19 complications on 29 December.
Odekunle, died at the COVID-19 isolation centre in Gwagwalada, Abuja, on Tuesday evening.
In July, Odekunle made the headlines when he kicked against the arrest of Ibrahim Magu, former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He had described Magu’s ordeal as a power play by blocs in the corridor of power.
Police Commissioner Abdulkadir Jimoh – died on 18 December
Jimoh, until his death, was the Commissioner of Police in Cross Rivers State.
The Kwara State-born cop died at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital of complications from the COVID-19 infection.
Jimoh, who was promoted to Commissioner of Police late last year, had only buried his mother three months ago before death came knocking on his door.
Ex-governor Idongesit Nkanga (68)- died 24 December
Nkanga was the military governor of Akwa Ibom State i from September 1990 to January 1992.
The PDP chieftain was said to have died of COVID-19 on Christmas Eve. He was 68.
The retired Air Commodore was a native of Ikot Nya in Nsit Ibom.
Wahab Adegbenro (65) – died on 2 July
Adegbenro was the Commissioner for Health in Ondo State. His death caused panic in the state health sector and the task force against COVID-19, which he was leading.
Although he was said to have underlying health problems, Adegbenro allegedly insisted on attending to sick patients in his private hospital, which led to his being infected, and eventual death.
Tunde Buraimoh – died 10 July
Tunde Buraimoh died from COVID-19 July 10, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
He was one-time Chairman of Kosofe Local Government and was serving his second term in the legislative house before his death.
Suleiman Achimugu- died on 23 March
Suleiman Achimugu was Nigeria’s first COVID-19 fatality. He died on March 23 after showing symptoms of the virus following his return to Nigeria from the United Kingdom.
Achimugu was the former Managing Director of PPMC, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) subsidiary in charge of petroleum products marketing and distribution.
Ubong King (48) – died 26 December
The Akwa Ibom State-born renowned public speaker and business consultant, passed away on 26 December at 48.
The entrepreneur was said to have died of COVID-19 complications in Lagos on Saturday, not long after he contracted the killer virus.
His death comes barely a day after Unyime-Ivy King, his wife, shared a picture of the family — including the deceased and their four children — to mark this year’s Christmas.
He was the founder of Protection Plus Security Limited and former chairman of the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) international chapter 206, Lagos.
Edmond Adedeji – died on 9 April
Edmond Adefolu Adedeji is a Nigerian medical doctor based in the United Kingdom, who died on April 9 after showing symptoms of COVID-19.
He was working as a locum registrar in the Emergency Department of Great Western Hospital in Swindon, before his death.