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.
Many parents who got the information late abandoned their offices, shops and business premises to rush to their children’s schools to pick their wards.
As the rumour also spread in Anambra state, Governor Willie Obiano issued a statement urging 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”.