By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
A spokesman to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has debunked a report making the rounds that he has contracted COVID-19 and presently placed in isolation, where he is receiving treatment.
The rebuttal was issued on Sunday by Segun Adeyemi, the Special Assistant on media to the minister.
Adeyemi insisted the minister was not in isolation or receiving treatment anywhere in relation to COVID-19.
“That report, which was first published by an online newspaper and then latched on to by some mainstream lapdog media, once again highlights the uphill task we face in our campaign to stamp out fake news and misinformation.
“A journalism mantra says ‘when in doubt, leave it out’. Also embedded in the code of ethics for journalists are the basic principles of truthfulness and accuracy, among others. The report in question did not meet those standards,” Adeyemi said.
He insisted the minister was at the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, an extraordinary FEC meeting on Thursday and also witnessed the swearing-in of the Minister of State for Works and Housing on
“All these events took place at the Villa, where the correspondents of many media organisations are deployed. In fact, the Minister coordinated the post-FEC press briefing on Wednesday and Thursday. Could he have done this from the imaginary isolation centre where he was consigned by a mischievous reporter? ”As a member of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, the minister has the added responsibility of leading by example, hence would not have hesitated to publicly announce his COVID-19 status if indeed he has contracted the virus. After all, he is not only fully vaccinated, he has also taken the booster shot, a situation that offers him different layers of protection even if he contracts the virus. For those who contract the virus, they deserve our empathy and prayers, not stigmatization,” Adeyemi said.
He riled the media for doing itself a great disservice by making ‘exclusive news’ out of beer parlor gist, adding sooner or later, the truth will come out and a fake-news-peddling-organization will have its credibility dented for
He tasked the online newspaper behind the news to, in the best tradition of journalism, not only to retract the publication, but also to apologize to the minister for causing him such embarrassment, especially in a season of joy.