Director general of Delta state orientation bureau, Barrister Eugene Uzum, on Tuesday, June 09, 2020, said that the biggest challenge in the war against the deadly coronavirus is not the virus itself but the fake news being peddled by Nigerians and the pessimistic view with which the people of Nigeria are viewing the lethal coronavirus pandemic.
As at Monday, June 8, 2020, the total figure of confirmed cases in Nigeria, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is 12,801, discharged persons are 4040 and death recorded from the index case of February 27 to June 8 was 361. But despite the rising figure on daily basis, most Nigerians have expressed pessimism over the figure being released by the disease control agency.
Emerald News reports that most Nigerians have also said they are only seeing figures of confirmed cases, discharged and recovered but no one is seeing photos or videos of the coronavirus patients in the isolation centres in the states. With the manner the NCDC is handling the cases, Nigerians have therefore concluded that the figures are figments of the NCDC director general, Chikwe Ihekweazu and the governors of the states in the country.
But Barrister Uzum said the biggest challenge now is how to change the orientation of Nigerians from the false belief being peddled by Nigerians. This is so because many Nigerians have zeroed their minds against the figures being churned out by the agency on daily basis.
As the director general of the Delta orientation bureau, he is saddled with the biggest challenge of changing the assumption of the people of Delta and making them understand that coronavirus is real and is a killer disease. He is saddled with the responsibility of making the people of Delta to understand that they must adhere to all the health protocols to remain safe from being infected by the lethal virus.
Barrister Uzum spoke when members of Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria (OMPAN) in Delta state visited his office in Asaba on Tuesday. He told members of the association that the biggest fight against COVID-19 is the fight against fake news emanating from the social media.
He advised online media practitioners, whom he said are taking over the media space in Nigeria, to ensure Nigerians and specifically the people of Delta get the right information on the coronavirus, saying COVID-19 is real and is deadly as can be seen from the rate of deaths globally.
Uzum said with the advancement of information technology and the supersonic manner in which information is disseminated, the online media has become pivotal for driving essential information to the general public.
He told the online journalists that in the course of the fight against the coronavirus, his bureau has taken the campaign and sensitization to all places across the state, just as he called on the online journalists to join in the sensitization against the coronavirus.
He said the mandate of his office is to drive orientation against drug abuse, cultism, robbery, rape and dissuade people’s mind against social deviance and maintain proper behaviour in society. He is of the belief that with proper orientation, there will be peace, social justice, social order, respect for constituted authority, all leading to the overall good of Nigerians and specifically the people of Delta state.
He said while rumour and fake news are being peddled by uninformed people, he is bent on the crusade against these deviant behaviours and one of his weapons of warfare is the online media.