The Kwara State Government has described as “false”, the allegation by the chairman of SOBI FM, Lukman Mustapha, that some government officials are spreading fake news on his COVID-19 status.

The Rebirth captain had alleged that the Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Modupeola Joel among other government officials of spreading fake news and further cautioned against what he tagged as destructive politics.

“It has come to my knowledge via numerous calls from well-wishers and associates, the rumours circulating on some Kwara based social media platforms alleging me of being COVID-19 positive,” Lukman Mistapha said in a statement he personally signed on Thursday.

He added, “While I will naturally wave it away as one of the prices one must pay as a politically exposed personality, the pattern the deliberately orchestrated rumour has taken, with some Kwara State Government functionaries joyfully circulating it even on official government platforms, I can’t, but be alarmed at the lowest ebb our politics has sunk into.

“One of such government functionaries circulating the obvious falsehood is one Modupeola Joel, the Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, who posted the malicious rumour on “COVID-19 Kwara Platform” this morning, a platform which is supposed to coordinate the State’s response to the pandemic, which draws members from top government appointees, medical personnel among others.”

But the Governor’s spokesperson, Rafiu Ajakaye, in a response to the allegation, said it’s false and an unfortunate misrepresentation of what happened.

“The allegation by Mallam Lukman Mustapha is false and an unfortunate misrepresentation of what happened. As a media owner, the government expected him to have done some due diligence before going ahead to impute negativity to the innocent civil servant. That moment required him to see beyond politics,” Ajakaye said in a statement on Thursday.

He said, “Earlier today (Thursday), the official received a message (now discovered to be a broadcast first published at 11:59p.m. on Wednesday on Nairaland) claiming that the SOBI FM chief had tested positive to the virus. That same message had apparently trended on social media. She did not author it. As one of the COVID-19 committee officials whose specific role is to receive communications from members of the public and send the same to the general COVID-19 Committee and the medical subcommittee for immediate response, she forwarded the message to the two platforms at 10a.m. with a message that she had just been alerted of same. Notably, she neither shared the message on any other platforms nor authored a statement to make such announcement.

“Her action was guided by abundance of caution and that falls within her duties as an official of the committee. She did no wrong especially because she forwarded the message only to relevant government committees for appropriate response.

“Contracting COVID-19 is no crime. There is no stigma to having it. The committee had since conducted its due diligence to find out that it was a hoax broadcast concocted by whoever for whatever reasons. It is on record that the committee has never mentioned any patient’s name except with their consent.

“Mallam Lukman Mustapha was clearly a victim of fake news first published on Nairaland— the danger of which the government has constantly warned against. We urge members of the public to join hands with the government to fight fake news and its purveyors.”

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