The Nigeria army just revealed that a free medical outreach embarked by the Operation Python Dance, extended to some communities in the South-East, was not meant to kill and depopulate the region, as widely claimed.
Linkloaded on Wednesday,received series of the disturbing messages that the Nigeria Army was going about in the South-East region, injecting students with ‘monkey pox’/ killler injection with about 3 kids confirmed dead.
The report which spread like wildfire, led to the closure of many schools in the South-East, as academic activities as came to a standstill.
In Asaba, Delta State, pupils on Wednesday, abandoned classrooms, following a rumour that Soldiers would come to schools to inject them to death.
The state Commissioner of Information in Delta State, Patrick Ukah, advised both parents and Teachers not to panic, saying that there was no iota of truth in the rumour.
He said: “This panic in schools is needless, because there is no vaccination currently going on in any school.”
In Anambra State, Governor Willie Obiano, ordered the Army to stop the outreach.
The Governor reacted to the panic at Ozubulu, in the Ekwusigo Local Government Area, caused by unsubstantiated information that Soldiers wanted to forcefully inject monkey pox vaccine into schoolchildren.
The Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, said there were misconception and misinformation about the issue.
He said the Military was on a medical outreach that had good intentions.
The statement reads in part: “The State has been made to understand that the exercise is part of the Army’s social responsibility to members of the public.
“The Governor has however, contacted the Army to stop the exercise, until residents are sensitised.”
Parents and guardians in Imo State, also stormed schools to forcefully withdraw their wards following the news of the vaccination.
It was said that pupils whose parents did not come on time, scaled fences and took to their heels.
At a school, St John’s Anglican Nursery and Primary School, a parent who did not disclose her identity, said that she had information that Soldiers were forcefully injecting pupils.
The visibly tensed mother said: “I am here to take my daughter home. I do not want anybody to inject my child. I will not take it.”
The Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 14 Brigade, Ohafia, Major Oyegoke Gbadamosi, said the Army did not organise any immunisation, adding that the information was mere propaganda, intended to tarnish the image of the Army.
“The Army does not organise any medical outreach without informing members of the community selected for the outreach”, he added.
In Enugu, the Nigerian Army said the free medical outreach was not aimed at depopulating the region.
Deputy Director, Public Relations, 82 Division, Enugu, Col. Sagir Musa, in a statement on Wednesday, said the free medical outreach, being conducted by the Army as part of Operation Python Dance 2, “was not harmful to anyone”.
The statement reads: “The free medical outreach is not a vaccine intended to infect South-East people with monkey pox, or any major contemporary or emerging disease.
“The exercise is part of the corporate social responsibility initiatives imbued into the overall Exercise EGWU EKE 11 (Operation Python Dance 2) package to the people of the South-East region, which is the area of responsibility of the 82 Division, Nigerian Army, and is also the theatre of the exercise.
“Instructively, the free medical services in the region started on September 18, 2017, in Nkwaagu community of Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
“The wicked, ill-motivated rumour, is the handiwork of unpatriotic elements who can go to any lengths to discredit the noble services of the Nigerian Army in the region, and they will not succeed.
“The public is hereby requested to disregard the wicked rumour for the good of the people.”