The Abia command of the Nigeria Immigration Service has described as “baseless and untrue”, an online report claiming that a Lebanese had shown signs of coronavirus in a hotel in Aba, the economic hub of Abia.
Mr Kabir Bello, the Chief Investigation Officer of the command, told newsmen in Umuahia on
Saturday that an investigation by the command showed that the report was unfounded.
Bello stated in a text message to newsmen that the man, identified as Mr Jareed Detten, is a South African and not Lebanese.
He stated: “Based on my findings, the story is untrue and baseless. I met the man in question hale and hearty.
“He is a South African and not a Lebanese. He is also having a resident status and not a visitor.
He has been in Aba and in the hotel since February.”
Also reacting to the publication, the Commissioner for Health in Abia, Dr Joe Osuji, said that there was no case of coronavirus in Abia.
In an interview with newsmen, Osuji said that he met the South African together with the NIS official at Hotel Du Golf in Aba, where he had lodged since February.
He described the online report of coronavirus case in Aba, involving the man, as “fake news”, and urged the public to discountenance it.
The Chief Security Officer of the hotel, Mr Jonathan Ogwo, also told newsmen in Umuahia on Saturday that the report had no iota of truth.
“The report was concocted by mischief makers to tarnish the image of the hotel,” he said.
Narrating the circumstances that led to the report, Ogwo said that Detten had lived in Lagos for many years and had a Green Card as a Nigerian citizen.
He said that the man, who is an engineer by profession, came to Aba to execute a contract and checked into the hotel on February 20.
He said that Detten, who had returned to his base in Lagos, developed fever after he was beaten by heavy rain at his project site in Aba on Monday.
Ogwo said that the man was taken to a private hospital in Aba, where he was diagnosed and treated for malaria.
He said that he was “taken aback” when a blogger reported the following day in his portal that “a Lebanese that lodged in the hotel showed signs of coronavirus”.
He said that the blogger also urged government to close down the facility and quarantine all the hotel staff that had contact with the foreigner.
“The Commissioner for Health and an official of the NIS in Abia, Mr Kadiru Bello, have all come to see the man and can confirm that there is nothing wrong with him,” Ogwo said.
“The blogger has published a retraction and an apology to the hotel, but we are obliged to officially counter the report in order to disabuse the minds of the general public,” he said.