Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, has denied contracting COVID-19.
Mohammed, who is also a member of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, said he attended the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, the FEC extraordinary meeting on Thursday, and the media-covered inauguration of Muazu Sambo, the new Minister of State for Works and Housing, on Friday.
As a result, he was perplexed as to how he could be considered isolated while still being permitted to attend such significant events in the Presidential Villa.
COVID-19 was ravaging the Presidential Villa, according to Premium Times, an online publication. According to the newspaper, Mohammed and several other Villa officials, including Tijani Umar, the Permanent Secretary of the State House; Yusuf Dodo, the President’s Aide-de-Camp; Aliyu Musa, his Chief Security Officer; and Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, had contracted the virus.
Responding, however, Mohammed said, “I read the story and we still have a great battle on our hands on fake news and mischievous reporting. I was in the public view on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I was at FEC on Wednesday. I coordinated press briefing on Thursday for the extraordinary EFC meeting. And the minister of power and I addressed media.
“On Friday, I witnessed the swearing-in for minister of state for power after which we had a security meeting. How can someone who has had such high level engagements for three days consecutively be ill?
“It is nothing but fake news. I am hale and hearty. Not only that, I have taken the two doses of the vaccine. I have also taken the Pfizer booster. I am a member of PSC and I am hale and hearty and I am performing at optimum level.”
Buhari’s communications aide, Shehu, stated that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and that he had been placed in self-isolation.
Shehu said he couldn’t confirm whether or not additional members of the Presidency had tested positive for the virus.
When contacted by a Punch correspondent, he said, “What is true is that I know that I’m self-isolating and taking my medication, but I know of no other case.”