Mamman Daura, the nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari, said on Saturday that the death of the late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and that of late Ismaila Isa Funtua, was so disturbing to him.
Kyari, died on April 17 of complications arising from the COVID-19 while Funtua died of cardiac arrest on July 20.
The President’s nephew, along with Kyari and Funtua; were described as powerful members of the ‘kitchen cabinet’ of Buhari.
Speaking in an interview on the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation monitored in Kaduna on Saturday, Daura described the two men as “close associates” of over 40 years.
He said Kyari and Funtua’s services to the administration of President Buhari in the first and second tenures, were “immeasurable”.
The President’s nephew said he worked with Kyari when he was Editor and Managing Director of the New Nigerian Newspaper, Kaduna, adding that he and Funtua, established the Funtua Textile Mills.
He said, “Truly, it (death of two intimate friends) was very disturbing. These two great personalities, aside from being my friends were my close associates.
“What they did for the government since they came in – Malam Ismailia Isa by the side while Abba Kyari in the centre, how they worked for this government was beyond our thought. May Almighty Allah have mercy on them.
“They were close associates, not blood relations. Close associates due to our long term relationship.”
On the late Ismaila Isa Funtua, the President’s nephew said together they established the Funtua Textile Mills which has outlived other textile companies across the length and breadth of the country.
“After leaving New Nigerian, and retired as a Managing Director, I became the Director of United Nigeria Textile Limited, UNTL.
”He was the Personnel Manager there. That was when we worked together and became intimate.
“Together, we established Funtua Textiles, close to Mairua Dam. All textile mills that were established at that time have all closed down. The ones in Lagos. Kaduna and Kano, at one point or the other, have stopped production but Funtua Textiles has been in operations in the last 40 years,” he said.