The son of former president Atiku Abubakar, who tested positive to COVID-19 on March 20, Mohammed Atiku, on Thursday, urged Nigerians to be circumspect about spreading false news especially about COVID-19 victims, as this may further aggravate their health by further weakening their immune system. Mohammed sent the word of caution in a video he made at the Gwagwalada University Teaching Hospital Isolation Centre where he has spent about 12 days. He talked about his COVID-19 status and experience and urged people to put aside political sentiments and work together to beat the COVID-19 pandemic before its effects become too much for the country to bear. “So, Nigerians, in essence, I am saying let us come together, let us put aside politics and defeat this pandemic, we can do it and we can do it very effectively if we work together,” he said. In the video shared by his father on his Twitter handle @atiku, Mohammed reiterated that the fight against COVID-19 can only be effective if people shun political bias and other differences and work together to defeat the scourge. He also called for prayers for medical experts who are on the frontline in the fight against the disease. While thanking God that he is feeling good, he said, “One thing I like to speak to Nigerians about in my experience is that fake news is very bad. It compounds your problem if you are in a vulnerable situation. Perhaps being from a political family, I didn’t really feel that pain as much but for people who are more vulnerable, this thing could really affect their health; it could affect their immune system.
“Let me urge people out there to be very circumspect in how they treat information and let them be careful in spreading information that is false because false news aggravates the health condition of people. In my case, even people within the estate that I live were purveyors of fake news, quite unfortunate. I will like to urge all of us to come together and see how we can support one another because this is a challenge to our society. It is a challenge to our future and present, the quicker we come together and understand this is a problem that requires a collective effort, then, the sooner we overcome this.
“The longer it takes to do that, the longer it takes us in terms of fatalities and also the economic impact. Thankfully, as you have seen the statistics, most people could get well from this though we can’t ignore the few that won’t get well,” he said.
Mohammed further called on people to work hard to fight the scourge and support the government by complying with directives from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Federal Government, state governments and other relevant authorities so that Nigeria can overcome the challenge soon.
He further called for prayers for medical personnel who he said “are at the frontline of the battle; they are risking their lives, I have seen first-hand, how close they come to patients and how exposed they are. We need to pray that none of them get infected, that nothing befalls them or any kind of harm comes to them and their families because they are our backbone and we have to appreciate and be thankful to them and to the extended authorities that are not necessarily on the frontline but have been playing a lot of roles in other aspects.”
Speaking on his experience, he stated that his first few days at the isolation centre were filled with stress and anxiety, “I tested positive to COVID-19 on March 20 and on that night, I was brought over to the isolation centre at Gwagwalada University Teaching Hospital where I have been since. I hope to be out soon, perhaps when my next test is taken and the result is favourable. I decided to do this video so I can speak on my experience and I hope it would be of help and value to the society
“When I came here, my first few days, I was anti-symptomatic but I was nervous. I had a high level of anxiety, a little bit of trauma and it was a fairly difficult two days especially because I was the index case here in Abuja. That was really the main challenge. But day by day, I grew stronger and thanks largely to all the goodwill, the prayers and support I got from a vast array of Nigerians,” he stated.