The Sun News

Storm over army’s free healthcare

•Drugs not harmful –Military

From Paul Osuyi, Asaba, George

Onyejiuwa, Owerri, Jane Nwaoriaku,

Enugu, Felix Ikem, Nsukka, Mohammed Mamman, Damaturu, Tony Osauzo, Benin, Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka, Jeff Amechi Obodo, Alloy Attah, Onitsha and David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi

There was pandemonium and palpable apprehension across the five South-Eastern states and Delta State, yesterday, following wild rumour that some immunisation officers accompanied by persons in Army uniforms invaded schools and were injecting children with unusual vaccine.

Following the unsubstantiated rumour, parents and guardians stormed schools to ‘rescue’ their wards thereby causing heavy traffic and commotion.

This came in the wake of the medical outreach embarked upon by troops as part of its package for the ongoing Operation Python Dance 11 code-named Egwu Eke.

    A statement by the Deputy Director Public Relations 82 Division, Col. Sagir Musa that the free medical outreach was not a vaccine intended to “infect monkey pox or any major contemporary or emerging diseases in Nigeria to the people of South East or any part of the country, failed to douse the panic.

     According to the statement, the free medical services in the region started on the September 18, in Nkwaagu community of Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

   “At the event, the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, the chairman of the LGA and some traditional rulers of the benefiting community were there at the flag off of the exercise by the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General TY Buratai. Other areas where the programme was conducted were Ovim in Isoukwato LGA of Abia State, Mbaise in Imo State, ORJI River in Enugu and now Ozubulu in Anambra State. In all the mentioned areas, there has not been any recorded incident or complain of any kind arising from the noble humanitarian gesture of the Nigeria Army.” 

  The army said  “the wicked, ill motivated rumour/lies” was  the handiwork of unpatriotic elements who can go to any length to discredit the noble services of the military in the region.

In Anambra, over 400 schools, both public and private, in Nnewi North/Nnewi South and some in Ekwusigo Local Government Areas abruptly closed around 10am over claim that some school children had slipped into coma after being allegedly injected.

Confusion also reigned in Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi, as phone calls came from all parts of the country and even beyond urging relatives and family members to secure their children and ensure they did not take the vaccine.

Before the state government and the army could make a public statement to douse the tension, almost all schools had been closed.

Schools including Ado Girls secondary school, Onitsha; Promise Secondary school Fegge; Little Saint, Nursery & Primary school and New Bethel school Onitsha closed abruptly. A student of Ado Girls Secondary, Uju Ikezie, said both students and teachers ran home when the rumour got to the school.

A student of Great Mind Comprehensive Secondary School, Ifite Awka, Uchechukwu Nwonu, told Daily Sun that the proprietor dismissed them around 11 am.

In Awka, a man who gave his name simply as Martins, said he almost jumped out of his car when he saw people running helter-skelter.

“I was going to Abatete when I met a traffic jam in Amawbia; and behold, people, male and female, were running into St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, Amawbia. Those running out were clutching their children; and there were tension everywhere. When I got to Abatete, the same scenario replayed itself; people where running into schools to carry their children. It was there that I heard that there was information that the army were injecting people with a vaccine and that those they injected the previous day were dead already.”

But when Daily Sun visited an open field near St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu where a team of army medical personnel were giving free medical services, beneficiaries were surprised to learn that panic had gripped people in other councils over the medical service.

A senior army officer from 82 Division, Onitsha said the rumour came to them as a surprise.

According to him, there were 62 medical personnel and professionals for the routine medical outreach given by the army to persons, especially rural dwellers, who could not afford to go to hospitals for medical treatment.

The Parish Priest in charge of St. Michael’s Catholic Church, which has the open field, Rev. Fr. Chidolue Don, said there was no basis for the rumour.

He said the army medical intervention was not even for schools or church but for the entire rural people. He wondered why people who carried the mischievous rumour narrowed it down to schools.

“Did you see any sign of crisis? It must be a tale told by a fool and confirmed by an imbecile,” Fr. Don said.

Regardless of his statement, fear and commotion also spread to Imo, Abia and Enugu states.

The rumour in Imo had it that two school pupils in one of the schools at Awo Omanma, Oru East Local Government Area, had died after the immunisation.

Tale bearers also had it that the immunisation was being carried out at schools at Obosima, Umunwaku, Ohoba  in Ohaji/Egbema council, but when our reporter arrived at the community no soldier or army personnel was seen. However, parents were seen in rushing to take away their children while some of the pupils who were yet to see their parents wailed.

At Victory International School owned by the Assemblies of God Church, a teacher who simply identified himself as Chuks, said they did not seen any of the immunisation officials or the army, noting that the school authorities decided to send the pupils home for safety reasons.

At St. Mary’s School Amaifeke, Orlu council, Mrs. Ogechi Onumomu disclosed that the school authorities sneaked the pupils upstairs for protection following the rumour that officers were forcefully immunizing children. She however, said they did not see any personnel or the army as claimed.

The state government in a statement issued by Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, chief press secretary to Governor Rochas Okorocha, described the rumour, as wicked and unfounded spread by the wicked ones.

In Enugu State, the rumour was equally strong in the metropolis. At the W.T.C Primary School, Ogui New-Layout Enugu, school children were seen clinging tightly to their parents that had rushed to pick them.

Also at Urban Girls Secondary School, the principal said there was no vaccination in her school.

“I started hearing noise from the neighbouring primary school; when parents started arriving and banging the gate, I was afraid of stampede, so asked them to let the gate open to avoid parents harassing the staff,” she said.

A civil defense officer at the school, Mr. C.E.O Chima said the parents should not be blamed for their action, as they did that out of  care and concern for their children.

It was the same panic mode in the university town of Nsukka as parents besieged schools to “rescue” their children and wards. By 11am, parents and guardian had laid siege to the Modern Primary School, Nsukka, Township Primary School,  among others to take their children back home.

Mrs.  Stella Ozioko told Daily Sun that her sister called her from Umuahia to say some people dressed in military uniform  were going to primary schools and injecting them with dangerous vaccines.

“I am here to collect my two children based on the information. I don’t want to hear any story. I am taking them home. It’s better they stay at home alive than being injected to death by evil people who dressed in military uniform to cover their real identity,” she said.

At the Township Primary School, Mr. Ben Ezema said he had collected his children would stay at home until he was convinced nobody is coming to inject them in school.

    Also, in Asaba and its environs, anxious parents allegedly knocked down gates in a bid to whisk their children home.

   There was also panic in neighbouring towns of Illah, Ibusa, Iselle-Uku, Ogwashi-Uku, despite assurances by the state government that there was no iota of truth in the rumoured deaths as a result of vaccination.

    In a related development,  parents on Monday withdrew their children from public primary schools in Damaturu, Yobe State forcing the schools to shut down.

Rumour had gone round  that an unnamed nongovernmental organisation was administering injection on the heads of male and navel of female pupils in public primary schools in the town.

There was pandemonium as angry parents stormed the schools to evacuate their children, with some confronting teachers who attempted to explain that it was a false alarm.

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4 Comments

  1. Don M. 12th October 2017 at 8:30 am

    Is Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General TY Buratai, now the Health Minister of Nigeria ????

  2. Dr. Uche Kalu 12th October 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Isn’t it simply mind boggling indeed,that our Arewa Janjaweed Armed Forces chose the South East of all places
    in Nigeria ,for this purported Free Healthcare Exercise?
    That is but like carrying coal to New Castle.
    Why not in the North,and particularily in the North East,where the IDPs are in need of everthing imaginable in
    this world.
    And come to think about it,the Chief of Army Staff,Lt.Gen. Buratai,a fucking Kanuri reprobate,is from the North East.
    LT. Gen. Buratai certainly can’t be a Good Sameritan in this case because he is damned fucking muslim,and
    the Hausa/Fulani/Kanuri muslims,love to hate us Christian Ndigbos with passion.
    Of course,Charity they say,begins at home.Therefore,if Lt.Gen. Buratai and his Arewa Janjaweed Jihadists
    dominated Army don’t start their Mercy Free Healthcare Exercise in his Home Region of North East,which is in a dire need of Free Healthcare Exercise ,then the Hausa/Fulani/Kanuri muslims must certainly have something mischievous up their sleeves for us Igbos.
    It is about time those who claim to be the Leaders of our Igbo people,Governors,Senators,Ndiezes,Church Leaders et al, be compelled, to once and for all, take the security of Ndigbo very seriously.Instead of playing the Ostrich,they must rise up to the occasion.
    The threat is real.The Abokis are out to wipe us Ndigbo out with their viral infection,the so called ‘Monkey Pox,which probably they got from Egypt, Iran or Suadi Arbia.Watch out folks.
    ”Ma na Ndigbo si,Ndinmiri gbara gburugburu na eche nduha nche. Umu Ndigbo tokpanu ahu!”
    We Biafran Igbo Christians are the only stumbling block in the polity, that hinders the Caliphate of Sokoto’s drive to make our Fatherland their Osman Dan Fodio Estate.
    No to the status quo ante bellum!
    Down with Hausa/Fulani Islamic Hegemony!!
    All Hail Biafra,the Land of the Rising Sun!!!

  3. alain 12th October 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Take your free medication elsewhere or possibly to Aso villa clinic because they had none.

  4. Ezekiel Okeke 12th October 2017 at 1:44 pm

    If the enemy can invade schools and attacked Igbos of Biafra kids with biological weapons, who can rule out the fact that the enemy can invade schools etc. with gun, bomb etc. and attack Igbos of Biafra kids, teachers etc? Who can rule out the fact that schools etc. in Biafran Territorial Sovereign State are no longer safe for Igbos of Biafra kids, teachers etc? Who can rule out the fact that Igbos of Biafra must fight now and crush the enemy on Biafran Soil for Igbos of Biafra existence securities and freedom under God given Republic Of Biafra of the five south east states? As I already said, only coordination is needed- Igbos of Biafra under God given Republic Of Biafra of the five south east states, has capabilities and capacity to annihilate the enemy in Biafraland in one night. God Is With Us!!!

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