From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
There was accusation and counter accusation, on Wednesday, by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), following the army immunisation scare that rocked Rivers State, on Tuesday.
Panic grounded academic activities in the state following a rumour that made the rounds that the Nigerian Army was visiting schools and injecting students with the dread monkey pox virus.
There was fear in the state as parents jostled to retrieve their wards from the schools, causing gridlock on the major roads in the state.
But, in a statement released in the state, on Wednesday, the Publicity Secretary of APC, Chris Finebone, accused the PDP and the state government of being the originator of the rumour.
Finebone noted that the essence of the rumour was to discredit the activities of the Army in the region, adding that it was a plan targeted at the integrity of the Army.
Meanwhile, the state’s Publicity Secretary of PDP, Samuel Nwanosike, dismissed the allegation as baseless, stating that it was wrong for any group to finger the state government for the rumour.
Nwanosike accused the APC of initiating the rumour to unsettle the state, adding that the party (APC) only spread lies other than providing viable opposition in the state.
In Nwanosike’s words, “It is surprising to us that instead of the APC to join in confirming that the news was a lie, and that it was mismanaged by teachers and parents, they (APC) went ahead to point accusing fingers on the government and the PDP.
“We are saying that the rumour in Rivers State did not emanate from the State government. The APC should present to be a good opposition to the government of the State.
“Instead of being a viable opposition, what we get are mere lies and abuses that cannot be substantiated. If there is any group of persons that has caused the wrong picture about Army, it is the APC.
“They have politicized the activities of Nigerian Army; that, it has become a scourge to the society. Before, Army had integrity; but, because of politics, they have misused the Army. People are now scared of the Army.
“Army should do themselves a favour and abstain from every political issue to maintain their integrity. The rumour was from mischief makers and has nothing to do with the State government or the PDP. I want to call on every well meaning Nigerian to allow their children to go back to school”, PDP appealed.