By Dayo Johnson-Akure
Pandemonium reigned supreme across Ondo state yesterday as parents trooped to schools following reports of forced imunisation by some soldiers against unknown killer disease.
The report that some Nigerian Army officials have invaded schools across the state for forced immunization against the Monkeypox diseases spread in the state and caused panic.
Reports had it that some soldiers were going round to force pupils across the schools to be immunized.
Parents of wards in their thousands hurriedly invaded schools across the state to withdraw their wards.
They were seen pulling their wards along the major roads in towns in Akure, lkare, Ondo, Owo,
Even wards that are in boarding schools were forcefully taken by their parents following the development.
However, some schools visited by Vanguard showed that they were firmly under lock and key, include Aquinas college, Akure, Fiwasaye Girl secondary school, Becky Parker college, Christ the Redeemer Secondary school CRISSA.
Parents of the wards from different towns in the state converged at the schools and forcefully pulled down the gates to pick their wards.
Those that could not gain entry into the schools had a shouting match with the security men at the gates just as they threatened to force their way through the fences.
Parents who stormed primary schools in some schools actually scaled through the fence and trooped to their wards’ classrooms to forcefully withdraw them even as appeals from principals were ignored.
But sources had it that some officials of the Catholic Relief Service CRS, were going round the state giving some cards ahead of the distribution of mosquito nets to combat malaria in the state.
By the time the state government reacted through a public service announcement, academic activities in schools across the state had been disrupted as parents were not convinced.
The state lnformation and Orientation Commissioner, Yemi Olowolabi described the report as baseless and unfounded.
Olowolabi said “The attention of Ondo State Government has been drawn to a rumour in circulation that a forced vaccination exercise is being conducted around schools in the State, with panicking parents withdrawing their wards from schools.
“The State Government wish to inform parents, students, teachers, school authorities and the general public that the rumour is baseless, unfounded and should be disregarded.
“Real time investigation across the state has shown that none of such things exist in Ondo State.
“The State Government therefore advises the public, schools, students and teachers to go about their normal activities.
“Should there be any strange occurrence, the appropriate quarters should be informed immediately.
Also, the Assistant Director Army Public Relations, 32 Artillery Brigade, Major Ojo Adenegan, in his reaction, described the report making the around in Ondo State that Soldiers are giving poisonous vaccine to children and students of both Primary and Secondary Schools in Ondo State as fake.
“We are using this medium to inform the general public to disregard such information. There is no ongoing medical outreach in Ondo State. The information is the hand work of mischief makers and should be treated as such.
“We are using this medium to appeal to the general public to help give useful information on any person or group of persons who are behind this malicious information against the military.
Also, the state police image maker, Femi Joseph, described the incident as a wild rumour.
Joseph said in Akure that ” it was an unnecessary apprehension created by mischievous people just to create panic and tension in the society.
He advised the public to desist from peddling unfounded rumour in order to destabilize the prevalent peaceful atmosphere in Ondo State.