The Borno state Government, on Thursday, announced the closure of 37 public primary schools in Maiduguri as a result of confusion and pandemonium in its schools over alleged vaccination against Monkey pox disease.
Alhaji Shettima Kullima, the Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), made the announcement in an interview with newsmen in Maiduguri.
Kullima said the closure of the affected primary and post basic schools in the capital would continue until further notice.
He explained that the decision to close the schools followed the confusion in the affected schools over alleged administration of harmful monkey pox vaccines to the pupils.
Kullima dismissed the allegation as “false and misleading”, saying the government was not carrying out vaccination in schools.
“It is a rumour perpetrated by mischief-makers to disrupt peaceful learning environment in the schools.
“I was informed of the ugly scenario resulting to the confusion. The schools were directed to close down until we address the issue.
“The State Health Management Development Agency confirmed that there was no such vaccination going on in our schools,” he said.
Kullima said the Board would embark on sensitisation so as to raise awareness in communities and dispel the rumour.
Pandemonium erupted in schools when unverified information circulated, alleging that pupils would be immunised with contaminated Monkey pox vaccines.
The rumour spread widely in the state capital and many parents rushed to pick their wards from schools.
Scuffle ensued between parents and teachers at Sanda Kyarimi, Gwange I and III Primary Schools, who closed their gates against parents who came to take their children home.
A mother, Aisha Bala, said she was told that some non -governmental organizations (NGOs) were allegedly administering
‘virus-contaminated vaccines’ on pupils.
“I am told that any child who receives the vaccine will die. I rushed to save my children from danger,” she said.
Another parent, Malam BubaYusuf, said he got a message on social media alerting parents about the purported ongoing Monkey pox immunisation, adding that the message indicated that the harmful vaccines would be given to children in public primary schools.
Zainab Idris, a Primary-3 pupil, recounted that she heard other pupils shouting that vaccinators were in the school to administer deadly vaccines on them.
“There was screaming and everybody was running. I rushed towards the gate and made my way out of the school”.
The situation has since been brought under control by members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and security agents deployed
in the affected schools.