By Toby Prince
Nigerians have turned their anger on the Atiku family over allegation that one of his sons, who recently tested positive to Coronavirus, deliberately refused to self isolate, mingled with people thereby spreading the disease.
But the family of the former Vice President has denied this and called on all Nigerians to join hands to defeat COVID-19.
Various messages have been trending on social media reinforcing the allegation.
In a narrative, a concerned Nigerian wrote to the PDP presidential candidate in the 2019 election saying:
“Dear Atiku, but your son knew he was sick when he got into the country and refused to self isolate for 10 days. He went to places and mingled with people. He was forced to the hospital by the police.
“After 36 hours in the hospital and knowing it is no longer hidden, then you now tweeted this.
“Your son was also at PLAY LOUNGE WUSE 2 Abuja on Friday night clubbing with his friends and wife.
“This is why they have now shutdown. Anyone who was at Play Lounge on Friday needs to contact NCDC immediately. Abuja might just be in bigger trouble than we think. Your son was also at Juma’at that same Friday. I know people are hailing you for coming out openly, but you have not been forthright with Nigerians. Your son REFUSED to self-isolate as required by the Federal ministry of Health and the NCDC for anyone coming back into country. It took residents of his estate to call the police, who in conjunction with the NCDC forcefully came to evacuate him to Gwagwalda after more than 10 days of his return to Nigeria and probably has infected 100s of people. Your fake show of statesmanship is IRRESPONSIBLE ~ @watchingyall”
Another wrote: “The Atiku son caused so much damage to so many families in their estate in Abj. The son came back with his wife and children from the US/UK and refused to self isolate. As at the time of entry, his temperature was suspicious. He let his children mix up with other kids in the estate and even took them to sch as normal. It was his sister that fixed the idiot to NCDC. And immediately an ambulance was sent to the house to get all of the family. A test was carried out and they tested positive. Now the whole estate is on lockdown, tension everywhere, parents crying etc. This thing is real. Please remain indoors as much as possible.”
But one of Atiku’s daughters in a short video message denied the allegation, saying “all malicious and insulting messages being sent around that my brother intentionally spread this disease around be stopped immediately.
“We must come around as people to fight this virus.”
Also, in a statement issued in Abuja, Paul Ibe, spokesman for Atiku said: “For the purpose of putting the records straight and dispelling false narratives about the itinerary of a son of H.E @atiku currently undergoing treatment for Corona Virus (COVID-19) infection, I wish to make the following clarifications:
The clinical case returned to the country on 17th March via Switzerland from some business engagements in France and Switzerland.
He attended a private meeting of six (6) persons same day in Lagos, stayed in his private house for the night and took an Aero 5.20pm flight to Abuja on the 18th.
The case did not travel with his family or any other but travelled alone by Emirates Airline.
The case wore face mask as a precautionary measure since his arrival in Nigeria.
The case did not show symptoms of infection and voluntarily placed a call to NCDC on arrival in Abuja late on the 18th to inform them he had returned from COVID-19 prone country and desired to be tested.
On the 19th, NCDC took his blood sample which result came positive on the 20th. He subsequently went into self isolation to protect his family within his own house.
Meantime his son has since tested negative while his wife’s result is being awaited. The two persons are currently in self isolation.
We urge members of the public to disregard the perfidious information that the case accessed open location. He was not at Play Lounge nor any other club in Abuja as being mischievously bandied about.
The case neither attended the Friday Jumu’a prayers nor any social gathering until his evacuation to Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital on the 20th where he is being treated and managed.
We thank Nigerians for their prayers and support through this difficult time.
Once again, it needs to be restated that the risk and danger of #COVID19 is real. Ensure you follow the @WHO & @NCDCgov guidelines on how to stay safe.”