Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –By Albert OGRAKA:
The Delta State Government and the Nigeria Police Force have reacted swiftly to rumours making the round that some persons or groups are going to schools to forcefully inject children to death.
Blank NEWS Online can authoritatively report that the medical outreach by the Nigerian Army is part of its social responsibility to host communities in the ongoing “Crocodile Smile II” exercise in the South South and South East geopolitical zone of the country.
Unconfirmed reports from Anambra State had on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 allegedly misrepresented the ongoing Nigerian Army Medical Outreach programme and insinuating the spread of diseases and death of students in schools as a result of the exercise.
Recall that schools in neighbouring Anambra State, where the rumour emanated were shut down following rumour that some soldiers were seen trying to conduct medical exercise at St Patrick primary school in Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the state.
Apprehension however followed the rumour of the alleged forceful vaccination of pupils by some soldiers, a development which led to state wide rush by parents to withdraw their children and wards from schools in the early hours of Wednesday.
A statement by the Delta state Information Commissioner, Mr. Patrick Ukah read in full:
“The attention of the Delta State Government have been drawn to the fact that parents and guidance are going to schools to withdraw their children and wards out of panic.
“This panic measure is based on the falsehood and rumors making the rounds that some persons or groups are going to schools to forcefully inject children to death.
“Government hereby states without equivocation that there is no iota of truth behind this rumour as there is no vaccination currently going on in schools across the State.
“The state government has advised school heads to ensure optimum security in their schools by paying attention to all children and wards until the close of schools when parents or guardians come to take them home.
“Accordingly, the state Government has by this announcement advised Security agencies to be on the alert and to nip in the bud the antics of mischief makers who may want to take advantage of this falsehood and rumour to cause havoc.
“Residents of the state are advised to be calm and go about their normal businesses.”
In the same vein, the Delta state Directorate of Orientation has appealed to members of the public to discountenance the falsehood, saying there is no cause for alarm.
A statement from the Executive Assistant to the state governor on Orientation, Mr. Eugene Uzum reads: “The rumor about Soldiers infecting Pupils with Monkey Pox is fake.
Parents should remain calm, Delta State Govt is on top of the situation.”
On his part, the Commissioner of Police, Delta State Command, Mr Ibrahim Zanna assured residents of the state of the safety of their children and wards.
The state Commissioner of Police, Delta state. CP Zanna M. Ibrahim in a statement on Wednesday said that there is no cause for alarm whatsoever in the state as Delta is safe, calm and secure.
The statement signed by Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Andrew Aniamaka stated that the Commissioner of Police gave the assurance against the backdrop of false rumours going round that security agencies were engaged in forceful vaccination/ injection of school children with suspected substances in neighbouring Anambra State, and are likely to come to schools in Delta State to do so.
The CP, while reiterating that the rumour is spurious and orchestrated by mischievous elements whose sole aim is to cause unnecessary panic in an otherwise very peaceful and orderly state, calls on Deltans to disregard the rumours and go about their lawful businesses and assures them that the Command will continually do all within its power to ensure their safety and security at all times.
Meanwhile, the Anambra State Government has confirmed that there is no death of any student anywhere in the State, just as it warned mischiefmakers to desist from spreading falsehood.
The state government however suspended the ongoing medical outreach undertaken by the Army authority in Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area until wide sensitization is conducted to reassure people of its intentions and benefits.
This followed the outbreak of pandemonium caused by the exercise leading to withdrawal of students from schools by parent at the early hours of Wednesday.
A statement by Secretary to the Anambra State Government, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu however advised parents and guardians to strongly stop withdrawing their wards from schools as the situation has been brought under control.
The statement read in full:
“The attention of the State Government has been drawn to an on going medical outreach being undertaken by the Army in Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area.
“The State has been made to understand that the exercise is part of Army social responsibility to members of the public.
“However, strong apprehension among the populace has followed the exercise leading to withdrawal of students from schools by parents, misconception of the actual motive behind the exercise by stakeholders, community leaders and a general reservation by the public for whom the outreach is intended.
“To this end and to ensure no further escalation of the situation, His Excellency the Governor, Chief Willie Obiano has contacted the Army Authories and advised for immediate stoppage of the medical outreach until wide sensitization is conducted to reassure people of its intentions and benefits. The exercise has therefore been put on hold.
“Parents and guardians are strongly advised to stop withdrawing their wards from schools as the situation has been handled. All schools within the State will remain open as there is no cause for alarm! Community leaders, Presidents General and all Stakeholders are hereby reassured of the commitment of the Governor and the State Government to the wellbeing of Ndi Anambra.
“The State Government also strongly condemns observed rhetorics on social media completely misrepresenting the situation with insinuations of spread of diseases and death of students in schools arising from the exercise. The State categorically refutes these rhetorics and confirms that there is no death of any student anywhere in the State. Mischief makers are warned to desist from spreading falsehood. Anambra remains calm and peaceful!”
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Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
E.I.C: Albert Eruorhe Ograka