Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has said that persons found publicly questioning the existence of COVID-19 will be arrested and prosecuted.
He added that individuals in the state are at liberty to deny the existence of the virus but warned that they should not use it to influence others.
The governor said this during a stakeholders meeting organised to deliberate on the COVID-19 Task Force resolutions on Wednesday in Jos.
“For those who are in denial and continue to misinform others that COVID-19 does not exist, I want to warn them to desist. I as the number one citizen of the state was a victim and God helped me to come out of it.
“I can tell you that it is not a joke and I do not wish even my enemies such experience.
“That is why at the last state executive meeting, we decided to criminalise further denial of the disease.
“In other words, if you deny the existence of the disease, keep your denial to yourself because if you are caught propagating it or instigating others to follow you, you will be arrested and prosecuted no matter how highly placed you may be,” he said.
According to the governor, most residents in the state are no longer adhering to the guidelines of the disease, stressing that the use of face mask, personal hygiene and social distance was critical to controlling the spread of the disease, reports News Agency of Nigeria.
“In fact, many have abandoned and refused to observe simple protocols of wearing face mask, maintaining social distance and washing hands regularly,” he said.
In intensifying the fight against the virus, the governor has directed commissioners in the state to reach out to the people and enlighten them more on how to respond to the virus.
“I have directed commissioners and other senior government officials to reach out to the people.
“We want to break the resistance and ensure that people own the response. COVID-19 is a personal matter that affects people directly. They need to be involved,” he said.