Angela Nwaeze Abakaliki
Some private schools in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital have closed down following widespread rumours that unidentified persons were going from school to school vaccinating pupils against the dreaded monkey pox disease.
The rumour has it that any pupil vaccinated faces instant death and that they were vaccinated by force.
Already, the state government has dismissed the rumour, and urged people to go about their normal business and vowed to track down the rumour mongers to face the wrath of the law for disrupting public peace in the area.
Parents on hearing the rumour as early as 11:30am besieged schools their wards attend to withdraw them and prevent them from taking the ‘killer’ vaccination.
For those whose kids schools are fenced, they scaled through the fence to quickly withdraw their children to avoid being vaccinated.
Some schools including Oak Special, and Presbyterian Schools however refused to allow pupils to be withdrawn by their parents and guardians as they locked their entrance gates and continued teaching their pupils.
But at Godis school, the story was different as parents overpowered the gate man while teachers were sent on their heels.
The management of the school had to temporarily shut down the school until the rumour dies down. It was also learnt that such was the situation in some other schools.
Meanwhile, Policemen in five hilux vans were patrolling many schools in the capital city to douse the tension and arrest the rumour mongers.
At St. Patrick’s Urban Primary School Abakaliki, a Primary five pupil Nwafor Chisom, stated that nobody or group came to the school to vaccinate the pupils but that there was rumour that immunization of pupils were going on in some parts of the state and that some pupils have died as a result of the vaccination.
“I am afraid of what I heard and most of my colleagues have been withdrawn by their parents but I can’t go home because I want to receive my lessons”, he said.
The Headmistress of the school, Mrs. Chioma Okorie described the rumour as unfounded and baseless.
She disclosed that a team of policemen have visited the school following the rumour.
In a statement, the State Commissioner for Health called on people to disregard the rumour and go about their lawful businesses.
“There is no such injection going on in the state and there is no casualty anywhere in the state. People should discountenance the rumour. We are making arrangement to track down these rumour mongers and deal decisively with them for disruption of public peace”, he