Covid-19 and fake news

Since the outbreak of coronavirus in far away Wuhan province of Republic of China and the speed with which the contagious disease is being spread, countries around the world have continued to adopt preventive measures to stop it or lessen its devastating effects on human lives and the economy. As the new cases are being daily confirmed and death toll increases, the global pandemic seemed daring and dangerous.

While the world is not entirely free from deadly diseases, the emerging covid-19 has proved different. Nigeria like other countries of the world is not immune to the disease. Last week, six new cases were recorded in Abuja and Lagos respectively making it 30 cases now.

The increasing case of covid-19 has necessitated government to put or adopt preventive measures to contain the spread of the disease. These measures can be seen through the immediate closure of the schools, banning of gathering in places of worship.

In addition, international airports have been directed to stop operation.

While the government is trying to prevent further spread of the diseases through enlightenment campaign, some of our spiritual or religious leaders are not helping matters. These religious leaders who are supposed to be partner in the war against covid-19 and preach the danger of the disease to their followers are behaving otherwise. There are reported cases of mass gathering in the country most especially in night club and places of worships. This is an outright violation of the government’s order banning such gatherings. I learnt that the inspector general of police has directed his men to enforce restriction of congregation to guarantee safety. This is a laudable effort and should be commended.

Another clog in the wheel of effective campaign against covid-19 in Nigeria are the purveyors of fake news. Since the reported outbreak of the pandemic, promoters of fake news have been prescribing wrong medication as cure to helpless Nigerians. Sadly, their medicine is neither scientifically verified nor tested and confirmed as real antidotes to the disease by the relevant agencies. Looking at the high level of illiteracy in the country, the fake news will continue to do more harm than good.

In a tense situation like this where many people have surrendered their fate to God, fake news will add salt in the injury and endanger more lives.

With the confirmed 36 cases of the disease in Nigeria, nobody can deny the fact that the country is at risk of getting more people infected unless preventive measures are strictly adhered to; the government should call our religious leaders to order with regard to the gatherings because sometimes, promoters of fake news are feeding fat on government’s silence.

There is the need for government at all levels to embark on massive sensitisation campaigns through mass-media and other venued on the danger of the disease. Centre for Disease Control (CDC) should continue to inform Nigerians on any new development on COVID-19. For Nigerians, they should be on red alert, adopt personal hygiene and avoid mingling with large crowd.


Ibrahim Mustapha Pambegua,

Kaduna State.


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