It was widespread panic on 11thOctober, 2017.
Schools in Owerri, the Imo State capital were forced to close due to rumours that the military were invading schools and forcing vaccines on students which resulted in the alleged death of some students.
Scores of students were seen returning home from school before the closing time while some parents hurried to get their children schools back.
Our reporter could not ascertain the source of the rumour as students who were interviewed said they were just told by the school authorities to go home. Some students said they saw some policemen were in their school
The headmistress of a private school who spoke to our reporter said she suddenly started receiving calls in the afternoon from parents that military men were going around vaccinating students in their schools at gun point which forced her to close the school for the day.
Principal of the Comprehensive Development Secondary School, Owerri (Senior Section) Mr Cyril Uwaoma, said that on hearing the rumour, he had no option but to let the students who were having lectures at the time go home after several unsuccessful attempts to get the management of the Secondary Education Management Board on phone. Also, members of the Imo Security Network who spoke said there was no truth to the rumour.
Anambra State recorded a similar incident as the medical section of the Nigerian Army,in its social responsibility to members of the public, commenced a medical outreach in Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area. Another version of the story goes that an unnamed group tried to gain access to vaccinate students in their school but the school authorities raised alarm as they were not notified by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) which caused them to call the army. To this end, the Secretary to the Anambra State Government, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu issued a press statement shown below:
PRESS STATEMENT: ARMY MEDICAL OUTREACH
The attention of the State Government has been drawn to an ongoing 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!
Prof Solo Chukwulobelu
Secretary to the State Government. (As seen on yabaleftonline.ng)