Wednesday, 11 October 2017 17:00

Commotion in Enugu Schools

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I write with a heavy heart. Reports reaching this reporter state that parents in Enugu are rushing to schools to whisk out their wards as soldiers and police are on premises trying to force students to get vaccination for monkey pox. The rumor is that the government is trying to use the threat of monkey pox to wipe out southerners.

Two things make this narrative/report pitiful. No government, not even Buhari's, would be that audacious in genocide. I can, sitting in my comfortable home office, dismiss this as nonsense, but for a less educated couple in Coal Camp Enugu, it is better to be safe than to be sorry. Hence the rush to rescue their offspring from a brutal dictator.

I fully understand the need for prompt action on the part of government, but perhaps as this is Nigerian government this must be bungled as usual. As I tried to persuade my relatives to participate and accept the vaccination because it is in our interest, they come back with the following:

Why is the government using police and soldiers?Is this not operation "python dance" in action?How come that vaccines are so suddenly available? Why Enugu and south only?There has not been any reported cases in EnuguWhy not start at Abuja and Lagos where the children of the "big men" live?etc.

I could not counter any of these points. Nigeria has long experience is trying to vaccinate against deadly diseases. Remember polio eradication program under Obasanjo. Northern Muslims reacted exactly like their Enugu parents. Why did we not use this experience?

PMB's penchant to use force is at the root of all these. Education is the solution of all these self inflicted wounds. Using public media the public would be made aware of the problem and the planned government actions. Using schools and churches and mosques the message would be driven home more clearly. The vaccinations effort would be led completely by health workers without police and military involvement as we are no longer under a military government.

PMB must try to earn the trust of the people or he would not be able to do the goods he intends and wants to do for his people. There is zero trust between his government and the peoples of former Eastern Nigeria and even among many southerners.

This lack of trust could imperil the health of Nigerians especially with monkey pox. Operation python dance and Crocodile smile may stand in the way.

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts

October 11, 2017

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Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba  currently lives in Medfield, Massachusetts.