On Thursday, February 27th, 2020, the federal government announced the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Nigeria since the beginning of the outbreak in China in January 2020. It was also the first reported case in the West Africa region and the Sub-Saharan African region following Algeria and Egypt cases.
Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's minister of information, stated this at a news briefing in Abuja on Friday. Mohammed said it’s obvious that the purveyors of fake news will scale up their act to create panic and spread disinformation, following the confirmation of the disease in Nigeria.
“We know that at times like this, purveyors of fake news and disinformation usually ramp up their acts. We are therefore urging Nigerians not to fall for the antics of purveyors of fakes news and disinformation.
“Fortunately, Facebook is working with us in this regard. They have asked Nigerians to report any false or misleading report on Facebook and Instagram pages so they can immediately bring them down.
“They have also assured us that they are taking preemptive action to remove any false or harmful messages about this epidemic and public health in Nigeria 24/7.
“All that Nigerians are required to do is to flag any false or misleading report on the epidemic and Facebook will remove any such report,” he said.
The Minister directed media agencies such as NTA, FRCN, NAN, and VON, to intensify their ongoing sensitization and enlightenment campaigns to arm Nigerians with the necessary information to stay well.