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COVID-19 restriction: Old video of PTF Coordinator, Sani Aliyu, resurfaces online


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LESS than 24 hours after the announcement of COVID-19 restrictions across Nigeria, a video of the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Sani Aliyu has surfaced online, with him telling the public to ignore lockdown rumours.

The video, which was also shared on Facebook here, has a comment ‘Thanks for sharing, sir,’ connotating the commenter felt it was timely and useful information.

The Claim:

The video shows the PTF National Coordinator Sani Aliyu telling Nigerians to ignore the lockdown as it was fake news.

The Findings:

Findings by the FactCheckHub show that it was an old video that resurfaced online,. Therefore, it is misleading.

In the 51-second video, Aliyu  said, “We are aware of the fake message that is going round on WhatsApp that we’ve declared a lockdown in the country. This is absolutely not true. I am calling on the general public to please ignore this message.”

The video circulated online.

This video has been online since January 2021. It was posted here on January 15. On the same date, multiple media reports referenced Aliyu’s message.

Aliyu had made the video following messages shared on social media that the Nigerian government had declared another lockdown due to the COVID-19 spike in the country at the time.

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In addition, the FactCheckhub reached out to Aliyu who also debunked the the claim.

“Of course it is not true. It is an old video from January when we had to tackle rumours of a new lockdown”, the doctor said via a text message.

He added that the video talks about a WhatsApp message and has nothing to do with the recent announcement.

Furthermore, Aliyu clarified that the PTF has now transitioned to Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), while noting that he is no longer the coordinator neither does he at the moment work for the Nigeria government. He has resumed a consultancy position at a university in another country.

Aliyu stepped down as the PTF National Coordinator in March 2021.

May 2021 phased movement restrictions

On May 10, 2021, the government announced restrictions across the country. This new directive was to take effect by midnight of May 11, a member of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 Mukhtar Mohammed told the press.

The PSC directive is in light of the rising trend in several countries and the high risk of a surge in cases in Africa.

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Although  Nigeria has begun her vaccine roll-out, there is a shortage in global supply which translates into a delay in vaccinating a large proportion of the population.

Therefore, non-adherence to COVID-19 prevention protocol can mean a huge outbreak.

The restrictions put in place are largely  due to poor compliance to public health and social measures as contained in the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations, specifically on the  use of facemasks, physical distancing, temperature checks in public places, hand washing and limitations placed on large gatherings, the PSC noted.

“In line with the increasing risk of a surge in cases, the PSC is re-instituting the enforcement of the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations. This is to mitigate the risk of a spike in new cases, while the nationwide vaccine rollout continues,” it said. This was noted in the implementation guideline for the current phased restriction of movement.

The Verdict:

The video in circulation is an old video. It has been online since January 2021, therefore it is MISLEADING.

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