Army denies infecting Igbos with monkeypox virus

524, monkeypox virus

The Nigerian Army has debunked rumour that its free medical outreach programme, which is part of its Exercise Egwu Eke ll (Ops Python Dance2), was responsible for the Monkey pox disease ravaging parts of the South-South and spreading to the South East.

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There has been widespread rumour of invasion of schools by men dressed in military uniform and allegedly injecting pupils and students to death with monkeypox virus in the name of giving the youngsters vaccine.

The rumour, which caused panic across Southeast went into overdrive with suggestion that the alleged monkeypox virus injection was being masterminded by the federal government to depopulate the Igbos.

Denying the claim via a statement, entitled, “Exercise Egwu Eke 11: Free Medical Outreach Not Harmful to Anyone’ and signed by Col Sagir Musa, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, the Army said: “The attention of the 82 Division Nigerian Army (NA), has been drawn to a silly and mischievous publication now trending on the social media alleging that the ongoing free medical services giving to some communities in the South Eastern Region of Nigeria is with a sinister motive of depopulating the region through the so called “monkey pox vaccination” purportedly being conducted by the NA in the region.

“The Division wishes to make it clear that the free medical outreach is not a vaccine intended to infect monkey pox or any major contemporary or emerging diseases in Nigeria to the people of South East or any part of the country.

“The exercise is part of the corporate social responsibility initiatives imbued in to the overall Exercise Egwu Eke 11 package, to the people of the South Eastern Region which is the Area of Responsibility of the 82 Division NA and is also the theatre of the Exercise.”

The statement continued: “Instructively, the free medical services in the region started on the 18th of September, 2017 in Nkwaagu community of Abakaliki Local Government Area (LGA) of Ebonyi State. At the event, the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, the Chairman of the LGA and some traditional rulers of the benefiting community were there at the flag off of the exercise by the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General TY Buratai.

“Other areas where the programme was conducted were Ovim in Isukwato LGA of Abia State, Mbaise in Imo State, ORJI River in Enugu and now Ozubulu in Anambra State.

“In all the mentioned areas, there has not been any recorded incident or complain of any kind arising from the noble humanitarian gesture of the NA. “Hence, the wicked, ill-motivated rumour/ lie is the handiwork of unpatriotic elements who can go to any length to discredit the noble services of the NA in the region, which at the moment they will not succeed.”

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