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How Nigeria’s Religious Leaders, Others Help Fuel Ignorance And Spread Of COVID-19

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As the Coronavirus outbreak spreads further, ravaging communities and causing economies to halt around the world, there are many, who have described the existence of the virus as a conspiracy.

In the United States for instance, President Donald Trump has come under fire for allegedly putting aside a January 30 memo by a senior government official warning of mass casualties and economic devastation months before the pandemic found its way to America and disrupted the people’s lives, claiming some of their best and most promising individuals in the process.

Even the World Health Organisation is not spared in this error of judgment.

On January 23, Director-General of the organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission outside China.

But a few days later, WHO backtracked and declared COVID-19 a pandemic. It was too late then, sadly.

In Nigeria, there has been no shortage of COVID-19 deniers despite its glaring effects and danger it continues to pose for the entire populace.

At the moment, the country has 1532 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and 44 recorded deaths.

Late in March, a video surfaced online with hundreds of Nigerians chanting, “Mallam ya ce babu Corona”. Translated to English from Hausa language, it meant, “Our cleric said no Coronavirus, it is a hoax”.

The video reportedly originated in Jos, the Plateau State capital.

In another video, leader of Izala Muslim sect in Kaduna, Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir, could be seen describing COVID-19 as an international deceit and Western conspiracy against Muslims.

He said, “Is the virus as effective as fire that could not burn Prophet Ibrahim (AS)? Then the virus is a lie. Whatever people have to say, they should say the truth. A professor has said it was a lie.

“President of Turkey declared that they shouldn’t stop the Juma’at congregation because of Coronavirus because they don’t believe in the virus, they only believe in Allah.”

Shortly after the video went viral, scores of young people especially from Northern Nigeria began washing their hands in bowls and drinking the water in a bid to validate the message by the Islamic cleric that Coronavirus does not exist.



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