In a press release by the Anambra State Government, it has been confirmed that the military vaccination exercise that caused so much panic today was part of a social responsibility exercise by the army. The state government has also called a halt to the exercise, citing the pandemonium caused by lack of information and ignorance of the army’s activities to be the factors. This reassures us that it was not a targeted attack.
However, it is sad and very shameful that such an exercise was planned and carried out without enough information given to the citizens. Rumors started in Anambra state and quickly spread through the east via phone calls, causing a domino effect of parents and guardians overreacting (albeit with the correct response) to what their sources had told them. The gist was this: “the Nigerian army is deliberately infecting our children with monkey pox.”
Children were pulled from classes, schools locked in panic. The parents who started withdrawing their children from school are right, what if this was something else? It shows a total disregard for the rights, opinions and views of the citizenry and is a gross misconduct by everyone involved.
So it took outraged, paranoid parents to get the local government to release statements and reassure the public? You do not come for people’s children and expect them not to react.
Another reason why this was totally tasteless is because of the recent #PythonDance operation in the east, especially in Abia State. This exercise saw an increased military presence in the East following a visit by self-acclaimed Biafran leader Nnamdi Kanu, and caused some altercations between the military and the citizenry. Tempers have cooled, but with this level of fear that people are still trying to get over, the army should have never done something this widespread without enough sensitization.
Where is the regard? Where is the respect for people’s feelings?
This just goes to show how little the government thinks of its citizenry.
In a country like ours, it is very easy for an exercise like this to be a targeted attack by proponents of an unknown propaganda, and it would have been easy for them to disappear through the cracked pot that is our justice system. Nefarious individuals could use it for their dark purposes.
We hope this is the last we hear of this, but we will bring you regular updates as they arise.