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‘Buhari Is Hale And Hearty’: Lai Mohammed Blasts Social Media Rumour Mongers

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Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information and culture has weighed in on the rumours circulating online concerning President Muhammadu Buhari’s health condition while on a 10-day medical leave in London.

The federal government has urged Nigerians to disregard the subversive messages being circulated via text messaging and the social media, saying the fabricated messages are being orchestrated by those who feel threatened by the emerging order, the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports.

According to NAN the statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 by Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, said there is no iota of truth in the messages being circulated on the health of the President, who is hale and hearty, and the purported emergency meetings of the State Governors in Abuja or anywhere.

He said the naysayers have also resorted to the use of ethnicity and religion as tools to divide Nigerians, overheat the polity and cause panic among the citizenry, in addition to using fake news and disinformation to distort government activities.

Alhaji Mohammed said while opposition and criticism are all part of democracy, the deliberate crafting and circulation of subversive materials and  scare-mongering are not, hence the full wrath of the law will be brought to bear on those who are bent on subverting the state. Below is an abridged part of the statement issued by the Minister.

”The source/sources of the fabricated messages are already being investigated and the authors should prepare to face the consequences of their actions.

”The emerging trend of resorting to destabilisation and scare-mongering is not unexpected, considering this government’s clamp-down on the corrupt elements in the society, the plugging of all  financial leaks which has derailed the gravy train of the looters of public treasury and the enthronement of probity and transparency in the polity.

”While we will neither stifle press freedom nor abridge the citizens’ right to express themselves freely, whether through criticism or protests, the security agencies will neither allow any resort to violence nor a wilful subversion of the state for whatever reason,” Mohammed warned.

Rumours about the health status of the president continue to swirl on cyber-space after a fake news website reported that Buhari had passed on.

The Nigerian presidency has debunked the rumour and said that the retired military general, 74, is “alive and well”.

“He is alive and well! President Buhari is not magical. He cannot be holidaying in the UK and be in Germany, dead or alive at the same time,” Garba Shehu, one of Buhari’s spokespersons, said in a short post on his Facebook page.

The president left the country last week on a 10-day leave and is expected back home on February 2, 2017. While making the official announcement, presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina had assured that there is nothing to worry about the president’s routine medical checkup while on his vacation.

The president himself also made it clear that there is nothing wrong with going on vacation, just before stepping into the presidential jet.

The rumours won’t go away. Wednesday morning, news began to circulate online that the present was on life-support at King’s College Hospital. According to the blogger who reported the story, his source is an inside source familiar with the situation.

Additional reports by the News Agency of Nigeria.

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