Lai Mohammed
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COVID-19 Presidential Task Force dismisses N500, 000 daily sitting allowance for members – Lai Mohammed

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…says it’s fake, distracting news

 

…coronavirus not a hoax

 

 

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic has denied that members receive N500,000 daily allowance, saying such deliberate falsehoods are capable of distracting the fight against the deadly virus.

 

“It is fake news,’’ the Minister or Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in response to a question at a media briefing by the task force in Abuja on Wednesday.

 

“The truth of the matter is that no member of the committee has received one penny either for sitting or sleeping allowance, not even when we went to Lagos yesterday (Tuesday).’’

 

According to him, those behind the report want to distract the government from containing and combating the virus.

 

Mohammed said: “On sitting allowance of half a million paid to each member of the committee, you remember each time I come here…since I tested negative to coronavirus my other major problem has been fake news.

 

“As soon as I got that information, I consulted with my colleagues here and I asked them whether I am not a member of the Taskforce and I asked them if they had received their own and they said no.

 

“But you see what bothers me is that since about 2 o’clock this afternoon, I have been receiving text messages to send money to people that they were broke, that they had no money and I begin to wonder why today, apparently they are acting on this fake news that we receive half a million naira every day.

 

“This fake news is aimed at one thing, to distract the government from the more serious problem and task containing and combating this virus.

 

“I want to say loud and clear that no member of the committee receives a penny as sitting allowance. Everybody is sacrificing his time, energy and even sometimes his resources.”

 

The Director-General, National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, disabused some people of their belief that coronavirus is a hoax.

 

“We have been in touch with many of these patients, myself and honorable minister have called many of them, this is not a hoax.

 

“Many families have lost dear ones, people very close to them and there has not been an outbreak experience in my life time in real time as much as this one,’’ he told the briefing.

 

“If they (patients) want to talk about their experience is really up to them; we cannot speak about the experience of any patient.

 

“I noticed on social media that one or two of those have been speaking about their experiences, if you want to hear from them, I encourage such people to reach out to them and let them decide whether they want to tell their stories to the press.

 

“ But it will be inappropriate for me or any member of this committee to ask the patients to share their experience with press or anyone else,’’ he said.

 

On the Kastina medical doctor who died of Coronavirus infection, Ihekweazu said all those who had contacts with the doctor would be traced and tested.

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