COVID-19: Disregard rumour of members’ infection, Reps tell Nigerians

The House of Representatives has urged Nigerians to disregard the rumour making the rounds that some of its members were carrying the dreaded coronavirus without declaring their status.

An online media publication on Tuesday said there had been panic in the National Assembly over reports of such infections, specifically indicating that about 50 members of the House of Representatives have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Reacting to the development however, spokesman of the house, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, in a statement said, “The public is hereby enjoined to disregard, and consign to the trash bin, this misinformation.
“Harbingers of fake news should do well to observe the ethics of professional journalism and investigate their news as the continued bias for sensational journalism only lends credence to the case for the regulation of social media.

“The attention of the House of Representatives has been drawn to a news publication by Sahara Reporters on July 7, 2020 sensationally titled ‘Panic at National Assembly As Over 50 Lawmakers Allegedly Test Positive For COVID-19’. The House of Representatives is therefore constrained to release this refutation of the gross misinformation.

“Fake news is like a virus eating away at the fabric of national development the world over because it seeks to misdirect the people either through information underload or overload. It sinisterly shifts the perception and focus of the citizenry, as a result of which there is a behavioural change in the people who have been ill informed leading them to act in belief of what they have heard, read or seen, as if it were the truth.

“The scourge of Covid-19 has impacted all countries of the world, including every state, community and individual without exception. However, it is a sickness and not a criminal sentence on infected people. Therefore, it should not be an offence to be sick or a crime to be infected, and people who have passed through infection or recovery should not be stigmatised for nobody knows whose turn it will be tomorrow.

“The National Assembly and our leadership have been at the fore of the battle to reduce the impact of this pandemic on the people of Nigeria. At the battlefront, occasional casualties are inevitable, especially when the warriors are not superhuman. Members of the National Assembly could fall prey to Covid-19, just like any other person. It is therefore, unconscionable to attempt to weaponise this against the institution especially when the source of such strange information is a phantom,” the statement read in part.
He said Tuesday’s adjournment was consistent with the House’s Covid-19 safety precaution.and the pattern would continue until the commencement of their summer break on July 23.

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