The federal government has debunked the rumour that President Muhammadu Buhari “has been coughing and is now on ventilator”.
A ventilator is a machine designed to provide breathable air into and out of the lungs and to deliver breaths to a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or breathes insufficiently.
While giving update on the measures being taken by government to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, said the news that the president is unstable is fake.
“The president is well, kicking and in control of the affairs of the country,” the minister said while responding to questions at the media briefing.
He said fake news is now competing with the pandemic. The minister also described as fake, the news that there were only two ventilators in Abuja, out of which one had been “commandeered” for a top government official.
He said the news that a British Airways Flight was due to land in Nigeria on Wednesday, in spite of the closure of all international airports, is also untrue.
The minister said a section of the traditional media had also been engaging in “scaremongering and irresponsible reporting on the disease”.
“It is wrong to speculate on those who are positive or negative for Corona virus without any empirical information. In any case, being positive to Corona virus is not a death sentence, as we can see around the world,” he said.
“There is no need for the kind of scaremongering we are seeing in a section of the media. The danger is that this scaremongering can even discourage some who may want to come forward for testing.”
The minister appealed to the media to be more circumspect in its reportage.
He also appealed to Nigerians not to panic, saying the federal government was determined to work with the people to defeat COVID-19.