- The Nigerian Army has vowed to fish out and deal with rumour mongers tarnishing its image
- The army has been dragged into a controversy concerning forced vaccination in schools by unknown persons
- The rumours have been filtering into different states and causing panic among the populace
The Nigerian Army, 32 Artillery Brigade in Akure, Ondo state has vowed to find and punish those who spread rumours of an alleged planned vaccination of school children against monkeypox by soldiers.
According to Premium Times, the command said it would arrest those who spread the “wicked and fake” rumour in the state on Tuesday, October 17.
The panic disrupted school activities in the town after rumours went round that the army was injecting students with the monkeypox virus.
Parents immediately went to the schools and withdrew their children as panic spread from one school to the other.
Onlinenigeria.com gathered that by Wednesday, October 18, some of the schools were yet to resume normal academic activities despite the state government’s dismissal of the vaccination rumour.
The Army Public Relations Officer, Ojo Adelegan, was quoted in the report as saying, “there was nothing of such, the army did not carry out a medical outreach.”
He continued: “We are glad that today, the students have returned to their school to continue their academic activities. We have also said they should disregard any fake information on the vaccination exercise. We are also putting a machinery in place to apprehend those involved in the spread of the information, once we get them, they will face the music.
“We are asking for information on those spreading the rumour and we will ensure they are arrested,” he said.
Adelegan said the army would continue to carry out its constitutional duties of providing security for citizens.
Apart from Ondo, similar rumours have also led to panic withdrawal of pupils from schools in Yobe, Anambra, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Kwara states. Officials in those states have also refuted the rumour of such vaccination.
In Rivers, a statement by the deputy director of army public relations in the headquarters 6 division, Colonel Aminu Ilyasu, described the rumours as callous and unpatriotic.
“The Nigerian Army does not and will never carry out its medical outreaches or vaccination exercises for that matter in schools.
“We can therefore categorically inform the public that the ongoing rumours about Nigerian Army personnel going round schools in military camouflage to forcefully immunize school children are not true and should therefore be discountenanced with,” the army said in a statement seen by Onlinenigeria.com.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian army has officially ended its military operation in the southeast code named Operation Python Dance II.
This was made known by the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 82 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Adamu Baba Abubakar.
Abubakar who made the announcement on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai, formally declared the end of the operation on Saturday, October 14, in Sector 1 Tactical Headquarters at Umuahia, Abia state.