Former Lagos Governor and APC chieftain, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has disclosed that his late Chief Security Officer, Alhaji Lateef Raheem, who died on Friday, April 25, 2020, passed on from COVID-19 complications.
51-year-old Raheem was immediately buried in accordance with Islamic rites.
Raheem had been Tinubu’s security aide since he was elected Lagos Governor in 1999. “His death cuts severely,” Tinubu had said.
In statement signed by his spokesperson, Tunde Rahman, Tinubu disclosed that a posthumous COVID-19 test carried out on Raheem returned positive.
“Covid-19 is a real and present threat. Those of us who discount it or claim it is a fabrication do a grave and dangerous disservice to the public well-being. Likewise, those who stigmatise people who may have been stricken by the virus also do a disservice by casting blame on the innocent and discouraging people from taking the COVID test.
“We cannot defeat this health menace through ignorance or by shaming one another. We can only beat it through transparency, knowledge and compassion. This, we have learned first-hand.
“Following the death of our well-respected and beloved Chief Security Officer, Alhaji Lateef Raheem, NCDC medics took the wise precaution of taking samples from his body for testing to actually determine the cause of death. Today, the test results are back. The samples tested positive for Covid-19," Tinubu said.
The politician was however quick to add that his test and that of his wife, Senator Remi Tinubu, have returned negative.
“As a precautionary measure taken soon after the death of Alhaji Raheem, His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, and all their aides took COVID-19 tests Saturday, April 25. The results of the tests were returned this morning," Tinubu said.
“The results of one aide were positive. The rest of the staff was negative. The one staff member has been isolated in accordance with NCDC guidelines. Further contact tracing and COVID-19 tests are being conducted by the NCDC with regard to the relatives and possible contacts of that staff member.
Tinubu “stressed that openness and transparency must be observed if we are to defeat this disease. There is no house immune to its entry. Contracting the virus should not bring social or moral stigma any more than contracting malaria or a common cold.
"We cannot overcome this challenge by acting like it does not exist or by trying to conceal that someone may have it due to social shame. The culture of denial is counterproductive and will do great harm in our current situation.”
He also asked that no one should be “afraid to be tested if you have any symptoms or if you believe you may have come in contact with someone who has been infected. We must do all we can to contain the spread of the virus and to well treat those of us who have been hit by it.
“As you go about your day, we know you must find daily sustenance. Yet, please continue to do all you can to maintain social distance and to take all other public health measures to protect yourself and others. In this way, we all may contribute to halt the spread of this dangerous virus.”
Nigeria has recorded 1,273 coronavirus cases in 32 states and the FCT, as of April 26. 239 people have recovered, but 40 people have died.