COVID 19:STOP INCREASING TENSION WITH FAKE NEWS-OKANG URGE NIGERIANS


By:Benedict Okache,CRS-MOI Officer in Calabar

Cross River State Commissioner for Information&Orientation,Comrade Asu Okang has urged Nigerians to desist from spreading fake news and negative information capable of aggravating the growing tension and fears occasioned by the outbreak of Corona virus pandemic in the Country.

Comrade Okang gave the advice in Calabar this Tuesday while reviewing the extent of compliance by residents in the Calabar Metropolis to the preventive measures put in place by the Cross River State Government to forestal the spread of COVID 19 disease to the State.

The Commissioner deplored the increasing rate of the spread of fake news,rumours and unverified information,espercially in the different Social Media platforms, emphasizing that what is most disheartening is the  high rate at which people forward these unsubstantiated messages to unsuspecting innocent members of the society.

"In this perilous times,citizens need to be more cautious of what they read, listen and watch online.The growing advancement in technology which has reduced the world to a global village where unscrupulous people in the society have continued to take advantage  to peddle false news for their selfish interest is most degrading",Comrade Okang averred.

He said spreading fake news,general misinformation and false rumours will not help in alleviating the challenges of COVID 19,stressing that it would rather aggravate the already tensed  aprehensions and cause more confusion among the citizenry.

"You can imagine how people have been spreading falsehood on the relationship between 5G telecommunication technology and Corona Virus when the experts are yet to take a position on the technology.People are peddling varinging information on medications given to those that tested positive and kept in isolation before been discharged after testing negative and adviising people to take same when the entire world is still grappling with finding a cure for the disease.All these must stop if we must move forward in our quest to checkmate the spread of the virus",Comrade Okang insisted.

The Information and Orientation Commissioner advised Nigerians to get authentic information from relevant official government channels to avoid misinformation,pointing out that in Cross River State,aside the State Governor,Sir Ben Ayade;only the Commissioner for Information&Orientation,the Commissioner for Health and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media&Publicity are authorized to release information to the public on the ravaging Corona Virus pandemic,adding that members of the public can also get authentic information on COVID 19 by dialling the Cross River State COVID 19 Toll free telephone number - 08031230527 to seek clarifications and avoid been misled.

Comrade Okang,Who is the Chairman of the Media/ Publicity Sub-Committee of the State COVID 19 Task Force further enjoined residents  to consistently use the Nose and Face Masks as directed by the State Government,saying that the mask helps in protecting the wearer and those around the person from contracting Coroner Virus and other respiratory related communicable diseases.

The Commissioner assured residents that the State Garment Factory is working round the clock to deliver more face masks for free distribution to the citizenry,noting that in line with Governor Ayade's directives,Security Agencies are on red alert to apprehend offending drivers and passengers of the on the 'no mask,no movement' policy in the State.

On the distribution of palliatives as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari,Comrade Okang maintained that the payment to beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer(CCT) in the State have commenced across the eighteen Local Government areas,emphasizing that the State Government on her part is working out modalities for the distribution of food items already recieved from the State Food Bank to the less privileged,the vulnerable and the very poor in the society.
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