The false rumour that the Nigerian Army was injecting school children with poisonous vaccination has spread to Akwa Ibom, prompting an abrupt shut-down of some schools within the state.
Villagers in Ekpene Ukim, Uruan Local Government Area of the state, were said to have poured into a public school – Adiaha Obong Secondary School – within the community on Wednesday morning and forced the school authorities to close down the school because of the rumour.
The school was deserted by both students and teachers by the time a PREMIUM TIMES reporter visited it around 12:30 p.m.
Three students who were standing in front of the school gate ran away as soon as they sighted the reporter.
“I don’t know what happened, all I can tell you is that people from the community came into the school and chase everyone away from the premises,” a teacher in the school told this newspaper on phone.
At Oron Road, around Mbiabong community, Uyo, several students and school pupils were seen running on barefoot along the highway. Most of them appeared scared.
There have been reports of parents scaling the parameter fence in schools in the state to bundle their children away because of the rumour.
“There is no truth in the speculation that school children are forced to be immunized,” the Commissioner for Information in the state, Charles Udoh, told a radio station in Uyo.
“Any act as such is illegal, unauthorised and not from the government, therefore, anyone found doing so, should be resisted and reported to the security agents,” the commissioner said, amidst tension in the state.
The rumour of forced vaccination by the military began in Yobe State last Monday and spread to the south-east a day later with residents there linking it to the military’s operation python dance in the area.
The rumour has since spread to other parts of the country including Ondo, Rivers and Bayelsa.
On Wednesday, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, joined other officials who had also refuted the rumour.