Residents of various South-East states have insisted that a free medical outreach organized by the Nigerian army was a ploy to depopulate the region, Punch reports.
On Wednesday, October 11, numerous schools in the South-East were deserted following unverified reports that soldiers were injecting students to death with the Monkey Pox virus.
Voice of Ndigbo gathered that in Asaba, Delta state, students abandoned their classrooms, and numerous parents rushed to various schools to retrieve their children.
However, Patrick Ukah, the state’s commissioner of information, called for calm as he stated that “there was no iota of truth in the rumour.”
He said further: “This panic in schools is needless because there is no vaccination currently going on in any school.”
As the rumour also spread in Anambra state, Governor Willie Obiano urged the army to stop the outreach, even though the governor stated that the army had good intentions.
A statement released by Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, Secretary to the Anambra state Government, on behalf of the governor, read 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.”
In Imo state, chaos was also recorded as parents and guardians stormed various schools to retrieve their children and wards.
However, Major Oyegoke Gbadamosi, Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 14 Brigade, Ohafia, stated that the information was mere propaganda aimed at tarnishing the army’s image.
He stated: “The army does not organise any medical outreach without informing members of the community selected for the outreach.”
Col. Sagir Musa, Deputy Director, Public Relations, 82 Division, Enugu, also weighed in on the matter and attempted to allay the fears of the public.
He insisted that the free medical outreach being conducted by the army as part of Operation Python Dance 11, “was not harmful to anyone”.
It was previously reported that the Anambra state government debunked the rumour which was making rounds in the state that students in Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the state were being forced by the army to undertake medical care.
The governor of the state, Willie Obiano through the secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, said the exercise was part of army social responsibility to members of the public.