Man Arrested over Fake News on COVID-19 Scare in Anambra Govt House

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By David-Chyddy Eleke

The Anambra State Police Command has arrested a 56-year-old man, Mr. Emeka Philip, for allegedly circulating fake information on COVID-19 scare at the state Government House.

Philip, who was paraded before journalists yesterday, allegedly circulated information on social media, saying there was COVID-19 scare at the state Government House, as the wife of the Chief of Staff to the governor, who lives in the United States, returned to the country for the yuletide, infecting the governor and his wife with the deadly virus.

The state Public Relations Officer of Anambra State Police Command, CSP Haruna Mohammed, who paraded Philip, said: “The command wishes to confirm to the public that one Mr. Emeka Chinwuba Philip, 56, of Chinwuba Street, Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State, was arrested following an investigation the police command is undertaking that required his explanation on the role he allegedly played in the crime.

“The suspect had on or about January 15, 2021, originated and circulated on various social media platforms a false and malicious publication captioned ‘COVID-19 in Awka’.”

The reproduced message circulated by the suspect read: “Coronavirus has hit the Government House in Awka with more than 30 senior government officials, including Governor Obiano, in isolation.

“Late Igwe Kelly of Igbariam contracted the virus after visiting the governor to thank him for lifting his suspension and died three days to the last Ofala celebration.

“The virus was brought into the Government House by Mrs. Maureen Odili from USA who is the wife of the Chief of Staff to the governor (Primus Odili).

“Mr. Primus Odili was having sexual affairs with a light skin woman, and as such, Maureen bleached herself and came to show off her new look…etc.”

Mohammed said series of other false information were also circulated on the same premise, and inciting messages which were made for the purpose of causing annoyance, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will, or needless anxiety contrary to Section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrime(Prohibition Prevention etc) Act, 2015.

He added that the police swung into action to unravel those behind the documents being circulated online as well as the malicious publications.

“The allegations contained therein no doubt require prove and the police command intends to get to the root of the matter. The involvement of the suspect so far is to the extent that circulation of both documents has been traced to him. He, therefore, has a duty to explain either his direct involvement in authoring both or otherwise.

“The public may kindly note that the laws are clear on the issues raised here, and will therefore be applied accordingly. Suspect will be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded,” Mohammed said.