A social media message which has caused panic among Nigerians has been disclaimed by its alleged author, Dr. Sani Aliyu, the National Co-ordinator of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19
He released a video, beamed on Television on Thursday, denying he issued the viral message. “It is absolutely not true, he said, but advised that all safety and non-pharmaceutical protocols be adhered to.
Everyday.ng reports the same message first surfaced a week before last year’s first total lockdown, a reason why it may have gone viral the second time.
A careful study of the message shows that no mention was made of a second wave, and it was a verbatim replication of last year’s.
The message titled, TOTAL LOCKDOWN IMMINENT, reads:
We just ended another meeting of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. Today marked the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Taskforce National Pandemic Response Centre. I think it is important to let us know that the country is about to witness turbulent times induced by the pandemic coronavirus. We may soon be hard hit. The reason for this is that, we, I mean the Nigerian Government, delayed in taking proactive action at the onset.
However, I can assure us that the government is serious about taking necessary steps to curtail the level of casualties. Well coordinated measures are about to be put in place from a broad, diverse spectrum. All the necessary Working Groups have been inaugurated today. International bodies such as WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, CDC, World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the private sector, civil society groups are partnering the Taskforce, providing technical and financial assistance and support. Donations are quite streaming in. From Global Fund we got $33m, another $3.3m came from another body I cannot give the name immediately. Max Air donated $200,000, the Chinese firm, Huawei, doled out #100m. There are a number of other handsome donations. We have been holding these meetings with some foreign experts. In the next few days, more concrete action will become manifest. All relevant institutions are being mobilized for action to tackle the scourge. The taskforce is also galvanizing the State Governments to ensure their is effective collaboration and cooperation.
More importantly, the purpose of this message is to give us the privileged information that a complete lockdown of the country is imminent. *Soon, very soon, perhaps, this weekend, this will take effect and may last for at least 14 days.* Therefore, I advise us to immediately make adequate arrangements for our families. Thank you and may God Almighty help Nigeria and Nigerians in these trying moments. Remain blessed.
*Dr Aliyu. Chairman Presidential Task Force on Covid 19*