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The Impact Of Labelling COVID-19 As A Scam

Despite the havoc wreaked by COVID-19, some Nigerians have continued to doubt its existence, describing it as a ‘scam’. The people doubt the capacity of…

Despite the havoc wreaked by COVID-19, some Nigerians have continued to doubt its existence, describing it as a ‘scam’.

The people doubt the capacity of public healthcare facilities, which are in a decrepit state to handle an outbreak such as COVID-19.

This belief is further escalated by the actions and utterances of some influential persons such as Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello and Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir, leader of the Izala Muslim sect.

Controversial Claims By Governor Bello

The governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello has repeatedly controverted the coronavirus response strategy in Nigeria, a situation that pitted him against federal officials and health professionals.

The governor had in one instance described the deadly disease as a hoax.

Despite glaring evidence of acute under-testing for coronavirus in Kogi, Mr Bello last December claimed a widespread testing campaign was undertaken in his state and nobody had been infected.

“After the earlier misunderstanding we had with the federal health officials and the NCDC, we later allowed them to step in and test people,” he said in an interview aired on Channels TV in December 2020.

Gov Yahaya Bello’s Claims About ‘Mass Testing’ of COVID-19 In Kogi

Reaffirming his controversial claims that there is no coronavirus infection in the state, Gov Bello, in an interview aired on Channels TV on Sunday 27 December, 2020 said, “in Kogi, we say we have no COVID-19 and actually as a matter of fact, we have no COVID-19.”

False claims

The claims by the governor are false, according to the most recent NCDC general fact-sheet on COVID-19 response by states. Kogi, is a state of almost 3.5 million people, had tested only 425 samples by December 11, 2020, the national situational report published December 12, 2020 by the NCDC showed.

While states are solely in charge of their coronavirus management and response, the NCDC supports and receives daily infection information from them which is then published by the agency on its microsite.
September 14, 2020
Gov Yahaya Bello is a dynamic leader that has set a pace in leadership. He protected the trust entrusted in him by the good people of Kogi State when he refused to trade them for Covid-19 scam. He stood his ground that Covid-19 was a scam, #KogiGotNoCovid #KiddwayaOurWinner

Nov 17 2020

Yahaya Bello believes COVID-19 is a scam and always refuses to wear a mask. He downplays the disease in Kogi State despite warnings by medical experts. But when going to see @MBuhari he decided to wear a mask. Indeed, power pass Power.

June 12, 2020
President Buhari said he has lost friends, staff to COVID-19 , and his political son, Yahaya Bello and his handlers believe COVID-19 is a scam and mere business by @NCDCgov- have things fallen apart ?

COVID-19 Is a Western Deceit, Conspiracy Against Muslims – Sheikh Jingir
Opposition to government efforts in controlling the spread of coronavirus snowballed in the north as leader of Izala Muslim sect, Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir, described COVID-19 as an international deceit and western conspiracy against Muslims.

Jingir, in a sermon to a congregation on Izala TV and monitored by journalists in Kaduna, restated that Coronavirus was a lie, insisting that it was a conspiracy meant to stop Muslims from performing their religious rites.
“Is the virus as effective as fire that could not burn Prophet Ibrahim (AS)? Then the virus is a lie. Whatever people have to say, they should say the truth. A professor has said it was a lie.

“We witnessed the Cholera epidemic in Kano and we saw how massive burials were done. We saw the graves, but where are those of Coronavirus victims?”
Besides, the Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWGN) urged the politicians and religious leaders to desist from actions and sentiments capable of putting people at the risk of contracting Coronavirus.

This appeal came against the backdrop of some State Chief Executives and religious leaders who felt indifferent to Federal Government’s directive on measures at safeguarding citizens from contracting the virus that has ravaged the world since December 2019.

How Nigerians commented on Twitter
May 21, 2020
Watched the video of Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir where he clearly reiterated his myopic stance that #Covid_19 is a conspiracy against Islam and Muslim. I am scared because I knw the numbers of people that will readily follow his directives on this matter.

March 27, 2020
Due the rising number death in the US, Italy & Spain, It’s high time for Sheikh Yahya Jingir, the leader of Izala Jos to withdraw his unpopular statement that CORONAVIRUS was created to destroy Muslims. Those countries are not Muslim countries. So, Covid-19 is real ya Sheikh.

Below are some of the comments generated by the video on twitter about COVID-19 being a scam

@ElvisChinedu12 post:
VIDEO: prove to show that Corona virus in NIGERIA is a Scam.
These are the so called Corona virus patients in isolation center.
On May 19, 2020
Reply comments are as follows:
On May 20, 2020
Did you know that – an ISOLATION CENTER is like a waiting room? Where people who are not sick but infected are kept to be away from society? – Did you know that over 2million people globally are not sick but infected? – do u know the diff btw an ICU and an isolation center?

I have been home for weeks now away from school , if this Nigeria Covid 19 is a scam history will never forgive this government oh

On July 16, 2020
with all their behaviors and actions, they letting us feel as if corona virus (COVID-19) is a scam in Nigeria

However, the Nigerian government had adopted several measures to tame the escalation of COVID-19 which include: Encouraging social distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks and restricting movements in certain parts of the country.
It also encouraged self-isolation for Nigerians returning from high-risk countries. A major aspect of Nigeria’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has been the prohibition of gatherings that exceed 50 people, including worship places and all forms of social events.

With the claims by Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir, describing COVID-19 as an international deceit and also claims by governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello some Nigerians believe COVID-19 is a scam.

In this report, the OSINT tool, was used to generate verified comments tweeted, liked and also commented on the tweet by Nigerians about the pandemic that influence some social media followers on COVID-19 is a ‘scam’.

This publication was produced as part of IWPR’s Africa Resilience Network (ARN) programme, administered in partnership with the Centre for Information Resilience (CIR), the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) and Africa Uncensored. For more information on ARN, please visit the ARN site: https://africaresiliencenetwork.com/

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