Monkeypox: False rumour causes panic in Anambra

Willie Obiano
Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano

The Anambra State government has debunked rumours which emanated on Wednesday of an alleged ‘army invasion’ of schools in the state to ‘inject pupils and students with vaccines to tackle monkeypox.’

The rumour mills indicated that some students were alleged to have died after being forcefully injected with the vaccine which made parents withdraw their children and wards from school. These rumours were later dispelled by the state government.

The reports, which also spread to neighbouring states in the South-east created panic in the region.

A similar rumour in Yobe in the North-east on Monday also turned out to be false, although parents had already withdrawn their wards from schools.

The Anambra State government in swift reaction debunked the allegations of immunisation of children against the virus by the army.

A statement by the secretary to the state government, Solo Chukwulobelu, said the army was simply carrying out a medical outreach in Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area.

“The state has been made to understand that the exercise is part of Army’s 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.”

He added that “to ensure no further escalation of the situation, the Governor, Willie Obiano has contacted the Army Authorities and advised for immediate stoppage of the medical outreach until wide sensitisation is conducted to reassure people of its intentions and benefits. The exercise has therefore been put on hold.”

The statement further advised parents and guardians 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 well-being of Ndi Anambra.”

Also, the spokesman of Nigerian Army 82 Division Enugu, Sagir Musa, debunked the reports of soldiers’ invasion of schools or vaccination of any child.

“As I am talking to you right now, I am at the venue of the outreach and I can assure you that there is nothing like that. The commissioner for health in the state and some other dignitaries are also here and the programme is moving on smoothly”, he added.

The commissioner, Daniel Umezuruike, also debunked the rumours.

He said that the state government was not carrying out any immunisation at the moment and has not mandated anyone to do so.


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