The recent hoax about “forced immunization” by the military that pervaded the entire South East leading to abrupt closure of schools is not a laughing matter.
It shows how vulnerable we are as a people and how disunited we are as a nation.
No thanks to our large appetite for rumour and abnormal things, we have shown our geopolitical spread as a place where anything can happen including ignorant people brazenly arguing with arrogance.
South East of Nigeria is not alone in this malady. Was it not in this country, and not too long ago, that a sitting Governor Fayose argued with every vehemence he could muster and swore with the last drop of his blood that the President of the country was permanently bedridden if not dead in a foreign land?
No apology has been rendered by him to Nigerians even when it has been shown conclusively that he was merely engaging in a dangerous and divisive infantile political hysteria and sensationalism.
To think that the entire public and private schools in the South East of Nigeria will close down simultaneously because of an unfounded rumour peddled by the wicked leaves much to be desired.
The way the rumour spread like wild fire raises serious concerns about our trust issues.
Nobody trusts the other again. Every person is on his own. Too bad!
A people who do not trust their military can not have a nation. This is quite unfortunate!
Nobody looks up to any person at all or public authority or official for that matter for proper guidance or information.
Owing to our convoluted polity, any clown or mischief maker can inject any kind of rough information in the system and it will fly even in circumstances where it could have been processed and debunked as a ruse.
This is a clear indictment and evidence of a dysfunctional polity needing urgent repairs.
The psyches of the people have been badly bruised and the large assemblage of irresponsible and mischievous indigenous people within are taking great advantage of these to wreck havoc.
Worse still, the people do not trust their government and public officials and this may be for the wrong or right reasons.Who trusts his oppressor or uncaring government anyway and how many times will one be a victim before he gets to be street wise?
Furthermore, the success rate of this unfortunate bedlam raises serious concerns about health and public safety.
You needed to see how teachers, their pupils and poor parents were scampering to safety in all imaginable directions and scaling fences and high walls and falling over themselves all in vain. Remember that it was not too long ago that people bathed with salt and drank all kinds of concoction because of rumour of approaching *Ebola.*
Now schools in the South East are abruptly closed because of false information about a certain forced immunization by the military to inject “Monkeypox” on innocent school children.
Why would a responsible military do such a calous thing and for what purpose?
Nobody thought in that direction. In the ensuing confusion, common sense took flight and collective amnesia stepped in. It is a matter of great concern that no school headmistress or headmaster remembered to clear with the higher authorities before the hasty decision to close down the schools thus sending unprecedented panic in the polity.
Left, right and centre, parents, some of whom were out of town at the time or had their children in different schools, were frantically being invited to come immediately to evacuate their children based on all kinds of hearsay and unsubstantiated information.
With the rumour mill awash, all that was important for the school authorities was for parents to come and take the hapless children away from school thus disrupting their days routine in the riotous manner we did leaving many wounded and distraught.
Alas, it must be underscored that many years to come, these children will have phobia for the military and many will loathe them to death.
This is the hard truth and it is really sad. This hoax, as it were, raises a germane worry about public enlightenment on the role of public institutions and agencies like the Army, Police, Navy, Air Force and other security agencies. Many Nigerians are not aware of the constitutional roles assigned these public institutions.
This is intolerable and legally impermissible because ignorance of the law is not an excuse. In the same wise, many do not know the corporate social responsibilities of these public institutions and you do not blame them.
The Nigerian people see the military more as agents of destruction and oppression only interested in brutalising the civilian population.
Not many citizens will associate our Army, Police, Navy or Air Force or other security agencies with charity or acts of kindness such as immunization of children.
At home, when we want to get our kids to conform or behave, we threaten them with Police *(I will call police for you)!*
On their own, everyday and times without number, the children see our poorly Police on our roads openly collecting “egunje” or bribe and molesting innocent and weak citizens.
Children never forget odd things like that.
The expression that “Police is Your Friend” does not sit pretty with the people not to talk about the military that are seen more as “dancing Pythons and smiling Crocodiles” than life savers.
Billionaire and acclaimed political figure, late MKO Abiola, after he was badly brutalized by the military was quick to describe them as “mad dogs” and this rough reputation has refused to go away several decades after that sad event.
The reality on ground is that for a long time to come, many teachers and parents in the South East will find it difficult to entrust their pupils or children in the care of the Military, the promoters of Python Dance #Egwu Eke.
The reasons are not far-fetched. The gory pictures of indignity, inhuman treatment cruelty and torture the Python dancing military metted out to IPOB apologists and other innocent bystanders are still fresh in their minds.
The hard truth is that there is no love lost between the people and our military.
A military that can not protect and accord human rights and dignity to its nationals in peace or even war times is not worth its name.
Something must give and we hope the concerned authorities have clearly picked the ominous signal!
Now that that rumour about the forced immunization by the military has been proved to be a huge joke in bad taste that it truly is, it remains to be said that the way we ran in vain (#OSO NZUZU #OSO IBERIBE) confirms that we are largely naive and more ignorant than informed as a people.
However, on the flip side, a toad does not run in the afternoon in vain. “Voom has been shown to be better than statement.” That is #Egwu Uche!
The Igbos will say that #OSO NDU AGWU IKE…but we join to say #Ozo emena…
A new normal is possible!
Biko gwazie ndi yard unu inugo kaam jee gwa ndi Panya!
Prof Obiaraeri N.O. Ph.D (Law) etc.
☆☆☆☆☆5-Star Civilian General+