Where did reporters of panic rumour over military medical outreach get their information? AN EDITORIAL COMMENT

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It appears there is something about the South East region of 57 years old Nigeria, which has signed an undertaking with destiny that the Igbo people will never benefit in good things that happen to Nigeria. If not, same measures taken in North East, South South and even Lagos and Ogun states axis of South West region, by serious government being witnessed in Nigeria at least for the first time after the loss of the First Republic opportunity, which in a jiffy restored peace and picked up socioeconomic activities, should not have always turned panic and curse for the Igbo people of South East when the same measures are taken to their own domain.

Military deployment, yes, South East is not the only region experiencing it. But he that must not be visited with trouble must learn how to let a sleeping dog lie. But who says everything about the military is war? With military you get what you bargain for: if you choose peace and unity they live peacefully and unite with you in the interest of the nation. But if you choose to be trouble maker to the extent of proving to overpower the police who own the constitutional responsibility to handle internal security and you act so much that your excesses get to killing police officers and men like Nigeria had recorded in Rivers State during the last elections and recently by members of terrorist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), now proscribed, you have therefore declared war against the nation thereby challenging the very capacity of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic, the strongest in Africa, whose constitutional responsibility it is to defend the territorial integrity of the country.

But what happened in the last 24 hours was nothing near to cause panic but joy for the Anambra people of South East. The Army officers and personnel of Operation Python Dance II took the medical outreach they have already held in other places with community people applauding them to the chosen Anambra communities.  But instead for the people to appreciate the military kind gesture of millions of naira offered for free to the ordinarily incapable sick people, they paid them (military) back in bad coin, as some of their “God knows them all” went to the social and traditional (expectedly professional) media and spread evil and dangerous rumour against the Army, who ordinarily were in town to extend their goodwill to the people by way of showing them that “we are not all about war but more importantly peace of the nation and social wellbeing of the people.”

At the end of the day, sick people who should get treatment, and for free, not only lost the opportunity due to the wicked spread of rumour more likely intended to run evil propaganda against the military good intention, much sincere and transparent as it was, even those who had no health issues were reported to have run into one health challenges as a result of sustained injuries during the unnecessary stampede created by the panic caused by the wicked rumour.

The DEFENDER hereby presents an eyewitness account expressing his utmost dismay over what happened by the evil wishes of his own people for the military of their country but have turned out to be that the stone they threw into the market had actually hit their own family member, so says Yoruba parlance. The witness named Rev Fr Chetanna Jude Chukwuneke from Nnewi Diocese, currently works as chaplain at St. Camillus DelellisChaplaincy, College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Okofia-Otoli, Nnewi Campus, Anambra State.

In his posted witness titled, “I AM A WITNESS: STOP RUMOUR MONGERING”, the Reverend Father said:

“Thank you everyone. Beyond my calls and e-information from so many social media platforms: I have a firsthand information by visiting the site.

“There is a Medical Outreach of 62 medical professionals and personal of 82 Division Enugu at St Michael’s Catholic Church field Amakwa Ozubulu. The team had 5 doctors.

“Before I proceed to detail the medical units in the team; they was proper dissemination and authorization from the appropriate authorities. Firstly the Administrator of Ekwusigo Local Government Area, then the Obi of Ozubulu, who invited his Council and approved it. The Obi dispatched information to all the churches in Ozubulu and they said it was announced well in the churches (all denominations). I confirmed for two Catholic parishes. People from these parishes confirmed it in their numbers.

“Today they didn’t go to any school, they settled at St. Michael’s Catholic Church field Amakwa, Ozubulu. It was an Medical Outreach for the entire town.

“They had more than five units;
1)Ophthalmology,
2) Dentistry,
3) GOPD,
4) Medical Laboratory Sciences Unit,
5) Physiotherapy,
6) Pharmaceutical unit,
Nota bene:
7) Confectionery unit had food and drinks for patients.
8) More than 10 big sized canopy and seats.
There was no taking down patients names, they treated without noting one’s identity.
They were taking vital signs.
They Dentistry unit had facilities for minor surgeries.
The Ophthalmology unit was doing free eye tests and giving free glasses.

“They did not move into any school at all and the did not force any person to come.
NB: Please let medical personnels teach us what is Medical Outreach.

“AIT and NTA were there to cover it. They said why Ozubulu was chosen as one of the places it will be done was to unwrite the bad news of the past.

“This medical outreach was worth millions of Naira to people who could not afford it, but bet me the turn out was affected.

“Who spread this rumour, this fake news? People said the panic reached Emene Enugu state and Ebonyi state. I was personally called by friends from those places. The were people who got wounded in the panic, schools were vacated at Ozubulu and Nnewi environs. Proprietors of schools from Neni called too. May be it reached other Eastern states and places. I don’t know.

“What social media platforms and groups carried this fake news that caused stampede?

“Our people have been deprived free medical services by PEOPLE WHO DO NOT LOVE THEM BUT CLAIM THEY DO.

“WHEN ARE WE GOING TO STOP SPREADING UNVERIFIED NEWS?

“RUMOUR MONGERING CAN CAUSE DEATHS.
In my Primary Five in Enugu, around 1985/86 there was the rumour at Idaw River Primary School that Mermaid (Mama iwota) came out from the river and pupils of the School went into stampede and more than 7 died and many wounded. I was in the group that represented WTC Primary School Enugu at their funeral Mass in the school. Then that Mama iwota and madam Koikoi were moving around and killing people who had nothing to protect themselves, then as a small boy I would always put a rosary bead in my pocket and allow the crucifix part of it to be dangling outside my pocket to scare them. Lol.

“NB: I AM REPORTING FROM SITE AFTER INTERVIEWING THE MILITARY MEDICAL OFFICERS ON THE TEAM AND I SAW FOR MYSELF.

“I AM REV FR CHETANNA JUDE CHUKWUNEKE FROM NNEWI DIOCESE, FROM EGBEMA OZUBULU AND WORKING AS CHAPLAIN, ST CAMILLUS DE LELLIS CHAPLAINCY, COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCES, NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, OKOFIA-OTOLO, NNEWI CAMPUS, NNEWI, ANAMBRA.

“I LEFT AT ABOUT 2PM FROM ST MICHAEL’S CATHOLIC CHURCH FIELD AMAKWA OZUBULU AND NO TEACHER WAS SHOT. I AM ASKING WHERE THE HELL IS THIS RUMOUR OF A TEACHER BEING SHOT COMING FROM? IT IS NOT A SCHOOL AFFAIR.

“#SayNoToSpreadingUnverifedNews
#SayNoToThoseWhoSpreadPanicAlarm
#SayNoToThoseWhoDisturbCommunityPeace
#SayNoToRumourMongersBecauseTheyDontLoveU
#StopSocialMediaRumouring
#DontShareIfYouHaveNotVerified
#PleaseShareIAmAWitness”

There is love in sharing!!

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