Minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed has demanded an apology from Premium Times over a report that he contracted COVID-19 virus and was receiving treatment in isolation.
The online newspaper had reported on Saturday that Mohammed was among a number of presidential aides who contracted the virus last week.
However, in a press statement issued on Sunday, the minister asked the newspaper to also retract the report.
The statement signed by Mohammed’s media aide Segun Adeyemi said the report had caused the minister embarrassment, especially in a season of joy”.
Mohammed said in the statement that he was at the federal executive council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, an extraordinary FEC meeting on Thursday and also witnessed the swearing-in of the minister of state for works and housing on Friday.
“All these events took place at the Villa, where the correspondents of many media organisations are deployed.
“In fact, the Minister coordinated the post-FEC press briefing on Wednesday and Thursday.
“Could he have done this from the imaginary isolation centre where he was consigned by a mischievous reporter?” the statement read.
It added: “As a member of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, the Minister has the added responsibility of leading by example.
“He would not have hesitated to publicly announce his COVID-19 status if indeed he has contracted the virus.
“After all, he is not only fully vaccinated, he has also taken the booster shot, a situation that offers him different layers of protection even if he contracts the virus.
“For those who contract the virus, they deserve our empathy and prayers, not stigmatisation.”