By Ovie Okpare
Legendary Nigerian stand-up comedian and actor, Atunyota Akpobome, popularly known as Ali Baba, has called on Nigerians not see the global ravaging coronavirus in the country as a scam.
The comedian revealed that he spent his Christmas and New Year celebrations in an isolation centre where he was reportedly treated of the virus.
He stated this on Monday in a 1:02 minutes video he posted on his verified Instagram page where he confirmed testing positive to the virus.
The entertainment entrepreneur emphasized that COVID-19 is real and should not be treated with kid gloves.
The comedian claimed that he knew of many people who died of the virus while in isolation.
Ali Baba stated further that the new strain of COVID-19 is more dangerous than the first wave of the virus.
He said the virus has killed the rich, poor and the underprivileged persons in society and urged Nigerians to strictly adhere to relevant protocols for safety.
“2020 was a very tough year but we have made it through, and God has kept us alive. The other thing is that COVID is real, and my sympathy goes to all who have lost loved ones within the period COVID came to Nigeria.
“Please, be aware that the next wave of COVID that is around now is deadlier than the one that had come before because it is mutilated.
“The people that are going about, carrying on like they don’t have COVID or they haven’t gone to be tested have COVID. They are asymptomatic and they will spread it to you. You may not have the immunity that some people have and such, you may not be seeing it that this thing is key.
“Let me tell you, people are dying. Pastors, doctors, professors, billionaires, poor men, less privileged, people are dying every day”, he added.
Ali Baba, who was not seen in public during the yuletide, explained that many people have died of the virus even at the centre where he was treated.
Recounting his personal experience, he said, “Those figures you see are not fake…and to make it worst, I spent all my Christmas and New Year in isolation.
“What I just want to let you know is that COVID is real. COVID is real! I was in Room 4 and I can tell you that from Room 1 to 5 the number of people that were taken out because they died.
“I have spoken with Egbons who have survived. I have spoken with people who attended parties and two days later died. This COVID is real.
“If GOs (general overseers) are wearing masks, that’s to tell people to be careful. Are you more prayerful than the GOs? Any person that tells you that COVID is a scam don’t trust the person. Take it from me. Anyone that tells you that COVID is a scam don’t listen to the person again.
“COVID is killing and people are dying. You need to be careful. Wash your hands and protect yourself.”