Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has said that those spreading misinformation about COVID-19 in the state will henceforth be prosecuted.
Recounting his experience after contracting the disease, Lalong said God helped him to survive the disease even though there are people who are in denial and continue to misinform others that COVID-19 does not exist.
He added that the decision to criminalise further denial of the disease in the state, was made at the last executive meeting.
“For those who are in denial and continue to misinform others that COVID-19 does not exist, I want to warn them to desist. I, as the number one citizen of the state, was a victim and God helped me to come out of it. I can tell you that it is not a joke and I do not wish even my enemies such experience.
“The decision to criminalise further denial of the disease in the state, was made at the last executive meeting.
“In other words, if you deny the existence of the disease, keep your denial to yourself because if you are caught propagating it or instigating others to follow you, you will be arrested and prosecuted no matter how highly placed you might be.
“Sadly, we are also recording increasing number of deaths that is very worrisome. In the past weeks, we have seen some prominent persons in Plateau State and indeed across Nigeria die from COVID-19.
“Mostly, we hear of the big names but do not get to hear of the others involving people that (who) are less prominent. This should give us serious concern because it means that the situation is bigger than what we seem to know.
“Most citizens appear to be careless and reluctant to observe the COVID-19 protocols.
“In fact, many have abandoned and refused to observe simple protocols of wearing face masks, maintaining social distance and washing hands regularly.
“This worries me a lot because this recklessness is further exposing more people to the virus and then increasing the casualty figures. While we have no intention of imposing another lockdown to avoid further damage to the economy, some members of the public are not helping us.”