Media reports that a former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar’s son tested positive to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been going viral on online blogs and social media platforms since dawn on Monday.
But was the son at PDP rally in Ibadan as alleged on social media?
Daily Trust had earlier reported that the former Nigerian Vice President,had, late Sunday night, announced that his son (unnamed) tested positive to the COVID-19.
In a tweet he posted on his personal Twitter handle: @atiku at exactly 11:32pm, he said: “My son has tested positive to coronavirus. @NCDCGov has been duly informed, and he has been moved to Gwagwalada Specialist Teaching Hospital in Abuja for treatment and management. I will appreciate it if you have him in your prayers. Stay safe, coronavirus is real. – AA”
My son has tested positive to coronavirus. @NCDCGov has been duly informed, and he has been moved to Gwagwalada Specialist Teaching Hospital in Abuja for treatment and management. I will appreciate it if you have him in your prayers. Stay safe, coronavirus is real. -AA
— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) March 22, 2020
Following the tweet, which went viral with over 21,000 retweets as at 4pm on Monday, most online reports/broadcast and social media posts have been attributing the infection to his son – Adamu Atiku Abubakar, who represented his father (Atiku) at the South-West PDP rally, hosted by the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, in Ibadan on Friday.
When contacted, the Spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kola Ologbondiyan, told Daily Trust that Adamu Atiku Abubakar truly represented his father (Atiku) at the PDP rally in Ibadan, adding that he wasn’t the one who tested positive to the COVID-19.
Atiku’s media aide, Paul Ibe, also confirmed that Adamu Atiku Abubakar represented his father at the PDP event but he is not the one at the Isolation centre in Abuja.
In a statement issued following Daily Trust’s enquiry, Ibe detailed the itinerary of Atiku’s son who contracted the virus and debunked allegations that the infected son attended any public event, including last Friday’s Juma’at service as being alleged in most online reports.
“For the purpose of putting the record straight and dispelling false narratives about the itinerary of a son of H.E. @atiku currently undergoing treatment for Coronavirus (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 locations. He was not at Play Lounge or any other club in Abuja as being mischievously bandied about.
“The case neither attended the Friday Juma’at 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 World Health Organization and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines on how to stay safe,” the statement read.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated. We erroneously attributed a quote to Mr. Paul Ibe in the earlier version. This is regretted and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience or embarrassment caused by this report.