The Federal Government has dismissed widespread speculations and rumours that President Muhammadu Buhari was dead.
The Government described such reports as “silly” and affirmed that the President is alive and well – contrary to the misleading reports on the social media.
The Federal Government also denied claims that the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo was under pressure to resign.
The Government threatened to deal with those behind the rumours and other dangerous news aimed at dividing the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke on the development on Wednesday, described the swirling rumour of Buhari’s death in a London hospital as a “silly thing.”
Mohammed responded to questions from State House Correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja. He said that there were more pertinent issues to discuss than indulging in irrelevances.
He said: “I don’t want to lend my voice to a very silly thing. I will not join this debate. I think there are more serious issues of state to discuss than this issue.
“It’s only in this part of the world that you wake up in the morning and you say the president of the country is dead. I will not join that kind of debate at all”.
Earlier in a statement, Mohammed described as false and misleading the rumours making the rounds on social media and via text messages on the health status of President Buhari, saying the fabricated messages were orchestrated by those who feel threatened by the emerging order.
Mohammed said that there was no iota of truth in the messages being circulated on the health of the President, “who is hale and hearty”. He said there was no emergency meeting of the state governors in Abuja or anywhere.
He said that 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.
The minister said that while opposition and criticism were all parts of democracy, the crafting and circulation of subversive materials and scare-mongering were not, “hence the full wrath of the law will be brought to bear on those who are bent on subverting the state.
‘’The source/sources of the fabricated messages are already being investigated and the authors should be prepared to face the consequences of their actions.
‘’The emerging trend of resorting to destabilisation and scare-mongering is not unexpected, considering this government’s clampdown on corrupt elements in the society, the plugging of all financial leaks which have 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,’’ he warned.
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser on Political Affairs to the President, Babafemi Ojudu, has dismissed reports that some governors were mounting pressure on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, to resign from office.
In a statement he issued yesterday, Ojudu said: “I have read many ridiculous stories saying the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, is being held by some governors who are trying to compel him to resign.
“I have equally received several calls regarding this. The story is simply not true. It is a fabrication. Don’t be a purveyor of fake news.
“The Acting President is behind his desk carrying out his task. The Federal Executive Council presided over by him has just ended and he has been busy receiving visitors and holding meetings.”