The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says it has never engaged Funke Akindele, Nigerian actress, as a brand ambassador for its COVID-19 response.

Akindele was arrested on Sunday by the Lagos police authorities after she staged a house party, flouting lockdown order given by the federal government to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

In the wake of the social media backlash that trailed the actress, many had taunted her for going against safety measures put in place by the government, with rumours swirling that she is an ambassador of NCDC.

NCDC, which is at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight in Nigeria, however, issued a statement on Sunday to debunk claims that the federal government engaged the actress as part of its response strategy.

“As an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria, NCDC has not engaged brand ambassadors as part of our response to COVID-19,” the agency wrote.

“We continue to emphasise that all Nigerians maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID19. Stay home and stay safe.”

Dettol, an antiseptic firm, had in 2019 initiated a contract with Akindele to raise awareness on hygiene and healthy living in a campaign tagged ‘Clean Naija initiative’.

The firm, while disapproving the actress’ action, also confirmed that she is not a brand ambassador of the NCDC.

“As a responsible organization and brand Dettol does not condone any breach of the guidelines on COVID-19. As an organization, we are concerned at the turn of events,” it wrote.

“We will continue to support NCDC and the Nigerian govt to fight COVID-19

“We have been made aware through social media that Funke Akindele recently, acting in her personal capacity, had a celebration which is against the caution to the public on social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The NCDC partnered with Dettol on a public service message to educate our communities about preventive measures against COVID-19. Funke is not a brand ambassador of the NCDC.”

It, however, remains unclear if the brand has withdrawn its ambassadorial duties from Akindele.



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