Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has said with the level of misinformation on COVID-19, his government has criminalised further denial of the virus’s existence in the state.
Mr Lalong, who at a time contracted the virus, spoke about his experience at a meeting held in the state secretariat on Wednesday.
“For those who are in denial and continue to misinform others that COVID-19 does not exist, I want to warn them to desist. I, as the number one citizen of the state, was a victim and God helped me to come out of it. I can tell you that it is not a joke and I do not wish even my enemies such experience,” he said.
He said the decision to “criminalise further denial of the disease in the state, was made at the last executive meeting.”
“In other words, if you deny the existence of the disease, keep your denial to yourself because if you are caught propagating it or instigating others to follow you, you will be arrested and prosecuted no matter how highly placed you might be.”
Mr Lalong noted that the state is recording more daily cases than previously.
“Sadly, we are also recording increasing number of deaths that is very worrisome. In the past weeks, we have seen some prominent persons in Plateau State and indeed across Nigeria die from COVID-19.
“Mostly, we hear of the big names but do not get to hear of the others involving people that (who) are less prominent. This should give us serious concern because it means that the situation is bigger than what we seem to know.”
The governor said he is worried that despite this situation, “most citizens appear to be careless and reluctant to observe the COVID-19 protocols.”