FACT CHECK: Did Governor Yahaya Bello Say COVID-19 Is Not Real?

VERDICT: False and Misleading headline

CLAIM: 

On June 30, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a report on an online blog, Observers Times, claiming that the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, said Coronavirus disease is not real.

The blog published the report with a headline: “COVID-19 Is Not Real, Some Are Using It To Create Fear, Panic, says Ajanah Died a Natural Death – Yahaya Bello”.

The Governor in the report also claimed that there is no case of COVID-19 in Kogi State.

FACT

Checks by fact-checkers at the CDD show that COVID-19 is real and it is spreading in Nigeria.

Further checks by the CDD revealed that Governor Bello while speaking at a 3-day Fidau prayer for late Justice Ajanah said the chief judge died of a natural cause.

At no point did Governor Bello mention that the disease is not real, he however said, the pandemic has become a tool used by many to create fear and panic across the country.

“Nothing kills faster like fear, people should not accept cut and paste. COVID-19 is only out to create a fear, panic, pandemic, It is a disease created to reduce and shorten the lifespan of the people,” Governor Bello said.

Whether medical experts and scientists, believe it or not, COVID-19 is out to shorten the lifespan of the people. It is a disease propagated by force for Nigerians to accept,” the Governor added.

He said most people die from the fear of the virus than the disease itself. 

He further urged the people of Kogi State to discountenance the speculation that the late chief judge died of COVID-19, insisting that the state is free of the pandemic. 

Also, since February 27, 2020, when the index case of the disease was imported into the country, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been tracking the number of cases in Nigeria.

While notable individuals in the country including the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasiru El-Rufai, and his Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde, among many others have contracted the disease, the president’s former Chief of Staff, late Abba Kyari died from complications of COVID-19.

It is important to note that as of July 2, 2020, the NCDC has recorded a total 26,484 COVID-19 cases in Nigeria with four in Kogi State.

Also, several countries like the United States of America, Brazil, Russia and India are struggling to curtail the spread of the virus.

CONCLUSION: 

CDD fact-checkers can confirm that COVID-19 Is real. The claim by Observers Time that the Governor of Kogi state said the virus is not real is false and misleading.

CDD is urging members of the public to read beyond headlines before sharing any news report, especially, from blogs who are in the habit of using clickbait headlines to draw traffic to their blogs.

You can also forward suspicious messages for verification at +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter: @CDDWestAfrica.