Benjamin Kalu, Spokesman of the House of Representatives, has debunked reports from some online media that 50 members of the House have tested positive to COVID-19.
While saying the disease is not a crime or death sentence, Kalu said the report is fake news.
He said the adjournment of plenary by the reps on Tuesday was a result of the decision to sit once a week since the pandemic.
“The attention of the House of Representatives has been drawn to a news publication on July 7, 2020 by an online mefium 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.
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“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,” Kalu said in a statement.
“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 but a sickness and not a criminal sentence on infected people.
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“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 super human.
“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.
“This press release has become necessary to prevent undue panic in the society because the abovementioned publication could not be further from the truth. We wish to state that there has not been any panic at the National Assembly as alleged in the publication, and that to the best of our knowledge, it is absolutely untrue that 50 lawmakers tested positive to Covid-19.”
The statement urged the public to only rely on information from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Federal Ministry of Health and the Presidential Task Force.