By: our Correspondent
There has been confusion in the commercial city of Nnewi and its surrounding suburbs Onitsha, such as Ozubulu, Oba, Nkpor, Nnobi, Awka Wednesday as rumour filtered into the city that a group of health personnel from the Federal Ministry of Health are in Onitsha and other neighboring town going around all the schools in the area and injecting the dreaded monkey pox diseases to students forcefully.
According to the rumour, several students given the vaccine died instantly in an unnamed secondary school.
Our correspondent, who went to monitor the incident, gathered that following the confusion rumour, many schools, markets, offices, were hurriedly closed down with many residents rushing to various schools in the area to withdraw their wards from and stayed indoors just as many vehicular movements went up off the roads.
According to our correspondent, during the investigation, the unconfirmed sources said about ten students of Ichi Technical School, Ichi Nnewi and 5 students of Benneth Etiaba Secondary School Uruagu Nnewi owned by the former Deputy Governor of the State Mrs. Virginia Etiaba who were given the vaccine later developed swollen hand as a result of the vaccine.
The sources said because of the multiple effects people started doubting the genuine of the vaccine that is why rumours started flying leading to panic by residents.
However, when contacted to confirm the development, the State Divisional Police Officer of the Central Police Station Nnewi, Mr. Mohammed Musa (CSP) and his counterpart at Ozubulu Ekwusigo Local Government Area as well as that of Nnewi South and Nnobi Police Divisions confirmed that the whole incident was caused by a rumour by the social media, saying no life was lost or somebody wounded.
Contacted on the issue by our correspondent, the Anambra State Commissioner of Education, Professor Kate Omenugha was not able to pick her calls despite several attempts made to speak to her prove abortive while the State Governor Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. James Ezeh informed that the pandemonium was as a result of rumour and social media as nobody died.
Mr. Ezeh also disclosed that he is aware that the officers of 82 Division of Nigeria Army Enugu are embarking on a free medical exercise to the people of the State and is currently in Ozubulu to treat people and promise to contact the Education Commissioner Professor Kate Omenugha to get a clearer picture of the event and call back but did not call back before filing this report.
Countering the rumour, in a press statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Solo reads: “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 rhetoric’s 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 rhetoric’s 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!