The police in Abuja have arrested five persons for falsely claiming that they had contracted the dreaded coronavirus disease.
They were said to have stormed the Wuse District Hospital claiming that one of them had been infected by coronavirus.
The incident reportedly sparked panic and confusion and also disrupted normal health service delivery at the hospital.
The pranksters included Peggy Shandi, Abayomi Adedoyin, David Enemigin, Priscilla Ajesola and Jacob Oji.
Parading the suspects at the Wuse Zone 3 Divisional Police Station on Saturday, the FCT police spokesman, DSP Anjuguri Manza, said the suspects claimed to be “playing out a script about the virus” without the knowledge or authorisation of the relevant authorities of the FCTA.
He said, “The FCT police command is still investigating the case and on conclusion, the suspects will be arraigned in court.”
The Chief Press Secretary to the FCT minister, Mr Anthony Ogunleye, said in a statement that the Director of Public Health, Dr. Josephine Okechukwu, reiterated that there was no confirmed case of coronavirus in the FCT and advised residents to remain calm.
Okechukwu said the action of the alleged five persons was wrong and capable of creating pandemonium especially in a hospital environment where the alleged action took place.
She said that if such false information was released on the social media, it would do great damage not just to the FCT but the country at large.
The Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Media, Mallam Sani Abubakar, said the FCT Administration had taken steps to ensure that all contagious diseases were well contained within the FCT.
He described the actions of the suspects as appalling “as it disrupted the normal health service delivery process in the hospital and was capable of spreading fear and panic across the FCT and indeed the country.”
One of the suspects, Shandi said that their action was “merely a prank about the coronavirus.”
Meanwhile, the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Bello, has directed that three syndicate teams be set up to critically review existing security strategies to enhance the security in the FCT based on present and emerging challenges.
The directive was issued following the first monthly FCT security committee meeting for 2020.
The minister’s CPS, Ogunleye, explained in a statement on Saturday that the teams would among other goals critically examine specific security challenges within the FCT, map out proactive measures of crime prevention and identify possible challenges towards achieving the FCT Administration’s security mandate.
The teams were expected to have as members representatives of the various security agencies in the FCT, traditional and religious leaders, all the six area council chairmen, relevant departments within the FCTA as well as the media.
The teams have four weeks to submit their reports at the next security committee meeting.
The minister also said that the FCT would explore and consider the concept of Community Policing, which he said, will aid the police in executing its functions.