CLAIM: A widely circulated WhatsApp broadcast has accused the Nigerian government of, amongst others, hiding vital facts about the Coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The broadcast is credited to Nigeria’s first female chartered engineer, Mrs. Olu Maduka.
Among many claims credited to Mrs Maduka is that several COVID-19 patients are on life support, including a one-month-old baby that is struggling to breathe.
In the message, Mrs Maduka is alleged to have noted that the case of the one-month-old baby made her cry.
The viral message also alleged that the figures announced by the Nigerian government are about 10% of the actual number of confirmed COVID-19 cases announced to the public.
It also claimed that the Nigerian Engineer saw eight corpses within one-hour of her visit to the Mainland Hospital in Lagos.
In the one-minute and thirty seconds video sent in and reviewed by fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development, the engineer debunked the WhatsApp broadcast.
According to her, she was indoors even before the lockdown was announced and has not gone out in about four weeks, let alone visit the Mainland Hospital in Lagos.
She said in the video: “I wish to state emphatically that I did not write the article being circulated widely under my name as I have not visited any isolation centre either on the mainland or anywhere else. I have been home for about four weeks.”
“Even before the state official lockdown because at my age I belong to the high-risk group. So, there is no way I would have visited an Isolation Centre either on the mainland anywhere else,” the Engineer added.
She also urged members of the public to use social media responsibly and desist from abusing the platforms which can also serve educational purposes.
Lagos state has recorded 931 COVID-19 positive cases – the highest of all states across the country – since the confirmation of Nigeria’s index case in February.
The governor of the state , Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has held regular updates to intimate members of the public on the progress made so far by his administration to curb the spread of the virus in the state.
Mrs Maduka, who was conferred with the National Honour of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) in 2008, did not send the WhatsApp broadcast. She was also never at the Mainland Hospital in Lagos as claimed in the message.
She did not write an article accusing the Nigerian government of concealing the true state of the fight against Coronavirus as being widely circulated in the WhatsApp broadcast.
The CDD urges members of the public to disregard such information and refrain from spreading any form of disinformation across the social media platform.