- The minister of information, culture and tourism has not tested positive for the deadly COVID-19 virus as widely reported
- The rumour that the minister is positive to COVID-19 and is currently in isolation has been debunked by his spokesperson Segun Adeyemi
- Adeyemi urged Nigerians to disregard the report and called for an immediate retraction of the report and an apology by the news organisation that created the misinformation
Abuja, FCT -Following reports that most of the staff of the Presidential Villa and some cabinet members of President Muhammadu Buhari had contracted the COVID-19 virus, the information ministry has made the status of the minister public.
A statement released by Segun Adeyemi, the spokesperson for the minister of information, culture and tourism said Lai Mohammed does not have COVID-19.
Adeyemi in the statement sent to Legit.ng said his principal has not tested positive for the virus and is neither in isolation as widely reported.
He said the report that the minister had tested positive to COVID-19 and was in isolation where he is receiving treatment highlights the uphill task of the campaign to stamp out fake news and misinformation.
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Condemning the report, Adeyemi said the report in question did not meet the standards of the ethics for journalism which basic principles are truthfulness and accuracy.
"For the record, the minister does not have COVID-19, hence he is neither in isolation nor receiving treatment anywhere."
Lai Mohammed's itinerary in the past week
He added that the minister attended the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, December 22, at was also at the Villa where he coordinated the post-FEC press briefing on Wednesday and Thursday.
"Could he have done this from the imaginary isolation centre where he was consigned by a mischievous reporter?"
"As a member of the Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19, the Minister has the added responsibility of leading by example, hence would not have hesitated to publicly announce his Covid-19 status if indeed he has contracted the virus."
Nothing that Mohammed is also fully vaccinated, Adeyemi urged the media and journalists to always stick to the ethic of the profession with the hope of keeping the public informed.
"In the best tradition of journalism, we expect the online newspaper behind this fake news not only to retract the publication but also to apologize to the minister for causing him such embarrassment, especially in a season of joy."
Omicron variant: FG kicks, describes UK travel ban on Nigeria as discriminatory
The government of the United Kingdom had been asked to rescind the travel ban placed on Nigeria over the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.
The appeal was made to the UK government by the federal government of Nigeria through the minister of information, culture and tourism.
Mohammed said the decision of the UK government to place Nigeria on a travel ban has no scientific backing.
Emotional intelligence: Buhari pays glowing tribute to Lai Mohammed at 70
President Muhammadu Buhari had eulogised Nigeria's minister of information and culture turned 70 on Monday, December 6.
The president joined the numerous associates, friends, and allies of the minister to wish him a happy birthday.
Buhari in a statement on Tuesday, December 7, lauded him for his sacrifices and contributions in raising formidable information machinery.