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The truth about the rampage in Ozubulu, South East and other places affected by the news of forceful injection of diseases by the armed forces on 11th October, 2017. 

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This morning, I was on my way to Nnewi with my friend and she had informed me of an ongoing chaos ravaging Nnewi in which pupils were running helter-skelter and schools closing down as early as ten O’clock in the morning. We kept discussing about it as we approached Owerri road, suddenly it seemed like war has broken out! Little children and students were all running on the road, some were crying and others were been scolded by their elders for not running fast. If my friend hadn’t informed me of the development, I would have guessed the second Biafran war has broken out! I felt like coming down the car and ask people to calm down but who and who would listen to me? How many am I going to talk to? They would even stampede me

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I still find it hard to believe that majority of people in this part of the world are this unwary! It pained me so much seeing people who I regarded as exposed and intelligent give in to unverified rumors and one that is even very stupid to be true. I looked at kids being almost knocked down by vehicles as they all kept running as though they were looking for a cover from bomb explosion. Now, what happened?

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I heard so many version of this story from many people; I would spell out a few here. One said that the army was forcefully injecting people and infecting them with monkey pox, another said the army was killing people who refused to be injected, I also heard that some people fainted immediately the injection was given to them! Another funny version I heard was that many pupils who died as a result of the injection has been taken to General Hospital, Onitsha and UNIZIK Teaching Hospital, Nnewi and they said the doctors of these hospitals has raised awareness and asked parents to bring back their children from school. While all these and many versions kept pouring in, I was perplexed at the way people were accepting those ‘too stupid to be true news’ as truth. Some persons in South Eastern Nigeria who are dissatisfied with the Nigerian government and the presidency turned it into a propaganda against the government and others opined that the armies were not real armies but members of the Boko Haram terrorist groups and people from the Hausa/Fulani ethnic groups who disguised as armies to cause genocide in the entire Igboland through soft means. Some have been arguing what links military to handling of injections…

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I remembered that early morning of few years back when I was waked up from sleep in panic, I was having some of those dreams that tempt you to prefer the dreamland forever and it was cut short by some panicking fellow. 

“What is it?” I asked hurriedly, I was startled

“Rush now… salt bath… salt bath…” she was finding it difficult to even speak because she had been panicking

“Please… talk to me. What is salt bath all about?” I asked as my heart beat started increasing with a loud “kpum kpum” being audible in my head

“Ebola outbreak… It’s in the air! If you take your bath with very salty warm water, you will be free from it. This must be done as early as possible” she informed me. I didn’t need to think and analyze the news, it was already sounding very stupid to me and I thought it was only kids who would believe in it. I was hearing our neighbors panicking; I was hearing shattering of pots, the squeaking sound from stove burners and children crying as they were forcefully being bath with hot water, the flavors of soap rented the air as though the world was offering a sacrifice of soap. I wondered if it was the same thing I heard that was causing those panic! To me, it was same as those whatsapp messages that threaten people with death if they don’t forward to 30 persons. I wasn’t that dumb to give in to a lie, a very stupid one at that.

“Is that what it is all about?” I asked the person who waked me and she nod, I added “So… that’s why you interrupted my dreams? Mtchewwww….” I laid back my head to rest. Later in the day, the news went around that it was rumor. But then, some people who had complicated medical issues that never needed to bath with salt had an increased health issues which resulted to death of some of them.

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I also remember other rumors that went wild at other times including the end of the world, something would pass in the sky around 11pm and people would die if their phones are switched on with other lies that trended. I smiled at how people carry unverified news and use it to cause even more harm. Rumors of war kill faster than war itself. How about those rumours then that asked people of southern Nigeria to avoid any food item coming from the Northern part of the country where Nigerians largely depends on for supply of food? It was said that every food item coming from the North has been poisoned but it still all turned out to be lies! Haven’t those been enough to make us investigate the news we hear and never panic for the wrong reason?

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As we got to Nnewi, schools were already deserted and some market was even closed down! When we asked some of the teachers if they saw it happen, they responded “no… we just heard it was happening in Ozubulu. We have also called some teachers to confirm but they said it was the parents that caused panic by demanding that the school authorities should allow them take their wards home”.

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It pained me seeing people I deemed very intelligent take advantage of the situation to put people in further panic all in a bit to make the state government, the federal government and even Northerners appear very evil! Preachers of the gospel, leaders and models were involved in this too and I wondered where we have gone wrong in this country! While people of the opposition party were using this to criticize the ruling party, people who consider themselves enemies of Northerners also used it to paint a picture of how much these people want us all dead! I saw people defending those lies to the last and no one was interested in bringing calmness to people who were already upset. I felt that was a good time for leaders to assure their followers that everything is under control; I felt that was the time for leaders to show maturity but no, most of them were more childish than their followers, lending voice to a wrong report! Do they still want to be taken serious next time they talk? What do they stand to achieve by causing more division and chaos? We have not heard reports of pupils who got missing but such is likely to happen with the way parents almost brought down school gates in a bid to save their children from being infected with monkey pox and other diseases credited to the ongoing program by the army! How did Igbos became like this? It is because they exposed themselves to gullibility, we were never like this before! 

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I have taken my time to do a very proper investigation as I don’t like talking on issues I know nothing of. If you have followed me for some years, you will discover that I don’t stand on rumours but on truth regardless of popular opinions! I will tell you what happened as I have gotten reports from first hand witnesses and insiders.

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Was there truly any medical outreach by the Military?

It wasn’t a lie that the Military engaged in a medical outreach which is part of their social responsibility engaged in at a time of its necessity. Don’t argue with me if their timing was wrong or right, the problem wasn’t the timing but the rate of the gullibility of our people. The 62 medical professionals and personal of 82 Division Enugu went on a medical outreach at St Michael’s Catholic Church field, Amakwa Ozubulu. The said team did not come from the North; they had 5 professional doctors with them. 

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Was there any authorization to do so?

Absolutely yes! There was an official and proper authorization from the appropriate authorities. The Obi of Ozubulu and administrator of Ekwusigo Local Government Area approved it alongside his council. All Churches regardless of denominations were informed as it was also announced in various services and mass.

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Did the army engage in forceful injection in schools?

This was a social responsibility that was engaged in with smiling faces not knowing that they have very gullible people to contend with. The medical outreach wasn’t taken to schools as at the time of writing this, they only settled at St. Michael’s Catholic Church field, Amakwa. It was an outreach meant for the entire town and not just for schools. There were canopies and seats for everyone and they even had foods and drinks for patients who would need it. Personal details of individuals were not collected, only vital signs were taken to ensure they administer the right medication. Unlike the way the rumour mongers painted a picture of forceful injection of drugs into pupils, the medical team had facilities for minor surgeries at the dentist unit and was also giving out free glasses and eye tests. No one at anytime forced children to be injected, no parents were shot dead for struggling with an army officer over injecting their child just as the rumour said. People, who came, came willingly and got free medical care.

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How sure are you about this?

Fortunately, AIT and NTA covered the event. 

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Why did they come to Ozubulu? Why not any other part of the East or even Enugu?

Have you forgotten about the Ozubulu massacre? The medical outreach was part of encouragements given to Ozubulu people to tell them that good is coming to their town! It was done to paint a better picture of Ozubulu and to let them know that the world cares about them.

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However, what was intended for good was misrepresented by other people. The rumor spread to as far as Ebonyi State. We received calls while we were at Nnewi from Port Harcourt and even Lagos, people over there were expressing fears and some parents were also withdrawing their children from school. As at the time of typing this, many parents have insisted that their kids won’t be going back to school any moment soon. I had to take my time to address this issue because it pained me that our leaders and people we look up to weren’t helping matters. Instead of calming people down, they insisted in worsening the situation. I was and am still very disappointed at so many people! Rumour mongering kills as much faster than war! With my very eyes I saw the possible disappearance of children, I saw possible accidents and I saw how terrible gullibility can be.

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The Anambra State government didn’t suspend the outreach on the grounds that it wasn’t authorized; it was halted so that the panic can be resolved. The government also admitted in their press release that they were very well notified about the exercise and was approved by them. The program was stopped so that the unrest doesn’t increase but will continue after a very wide sensitization to reassure people of its benefit and intentions. The state government in its press statement released by Prof Solo Chukwudebelu, secretary to the state government also asked parents to stop withdrawing their children from school and to consider those things trending on the social media as lies.

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Unfortunately, things are changing. Certain happenings have caused the Igbos who have always been known for their strength and intelligence to start appearing otherwise but truth be told, there is nothing wrong with Igbos, our leaders and models from the grassroots have led many of us to gullibility! Gullibility defies strength and makes one appear weak and unintelligent. People would still insult me for saying the truth, for dispelling the rumour and for bringing calmness to the few persons I can reach. Yes, the persons that carried this rumour are the real enemies of Southerners; they enjoy it when you don’t have peace of mind.

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Rumor is a man, 

A man who wants no good for you, 

A man who hates the fearless you,

A man who rejoices at your unrest,

A man who enjoys seeing you fear,

A man who turn friends to enemies,

A man we must kill with the truth!

Rumor is a man and he doesn’t deserve your ears.

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Please… Share this to people to ensure that everyone is rightly informed.

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My name is George Onyedika Nnadozie (GracefulGeorge).

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#GracefulGeorge

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