By Uche John Madu
Panic, tension, disquiet and anxiety held Nigerians in the South-East of the country for days. And amusingly the cause and source of the baseless anguish, which drenched our people in hysteria was as discreditable as the news itself. Some social media e-rats and e-thugs posted reports that our people were being massively killed by deadly vaccines, administered by the free medical outreach programme of the Nigerian Army, as it is causing the killer monkey pox disease.
The rumour mongers expanded the scope of this malevolent and hate news to include similar deadly vaccines administered on people of the South-south by soldiers. Monkey sense, to say the least!
Nigerians are not strangers to the free medical services of the Nigerian Army to host communities since the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai mounted the saddle in 2015. The Army has been conducting the free medical outreach programme in the last two years, not just in Medicare, but other humanitarian gestures in water/electricity, roads and so forth, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to the Nigerian people mostly within its operational scope.
Interestingly, virtually every region of Nigeria has benefitted from these programmes, especially, its free medical outreach from North to south, since the Nigerian Army got actively involved in quelling terrorism and other local armed conflicts in Nigeria. The beneficiaries, among them traditional rulers, usually turn out en masse and also, attest to its efficacy and immense assistance. The South-east region has also benefitted from this exercise before “yesterday,” when people with “Monkey” wisdom hijacked and gave it a new satanic meaning.
Therefore, the roving mischief makers used the instance of the repeat conduct of the free medical services by Operation Python Dance II (Egwu Eke II) to again drum hatred for our soldiers and the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) by speculating the injection of South-easterners with Monkey Pox virus. No lie can be so disingenuous, but some naive Nigerians almost believed it. Even an intelligent nursery pupil would never believe that soldiers on a secret mission to eliminate a race will be so crude, daft and foolish enough to openly use poisoned vaccines.
Nevertheless, a good and kind-hearted gesture was deliberately baptized with evil. These projects are funded from the Nigerian Army’s meagre resources. The passion for humanity and cordiality with the civil populace by the re-professionalized, disciplined and patriotic Nigerian Army under Gen. Buratai is the motivation of these humanitarian services.
Regrettably, many had no conscience and comportment to assess the veracity of the fake news, but instantly believed its unjustified linkage with the activities of Operation Python Dance II. The 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Enugu, traditional rulers, local, state and federal governments refuted the claims as untrue. But the criminal elements in our midst, whose reprehensible outings in violence have been terminated by soldiers, energized the publicity of this silly news. In the first place, miscreants and armed gangs opposed the presence of “Operation Python Dance II” and boldly requested withdrawal of soldiers so that violent crimes could fester.
The cooked news on the source of the Monkey Pox disease was another carefully crafted propaganda aimed at extracting their pound of flesh from the Army and the government. So, they had no veritable evidence to buttress their claims, but hell bent on tarnishing the image and reputation of the Nigerian Army, they insisted on tagging along with the polluted and wicked reports.
All manner of reasons were ascribed to justify the fake reports. To these cursed minds, it was the strategy of the Army to depopulate some regions in Nigeria’s south, especially southeast. No one had the sanity of explaining why the FGN under President Muhammadu Buhari or the Nigerian Army would want to depopulate any region and for what value?
The Nigerian Army in a statement signed by Col. Sagir Musa, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, stated explicitly that “The Division wishes to make it clear that the free medical outreach is not a vaccine intended to infect monkey pox or any major contemporary or emerging diseases in Nigeria to the people of South East or any part of the country.”
Exposing their underbelly of evil, the outlawed IPOB, through its Media and Publicity Officer, Mr. Emma Powerful, claimed the “All Progressive Congress, (APC) government and the Nigerian Army are determined to kill as many Biafrans as possible in Anambra State, and South East in general.”
That’s the extent of indulgence in evil and wickedness by Nigerians, especially by IPOB members. A Kenyan proverb says “The day the monkey is destined to die all the trees get slippery”. The South-east is a region assailed by armed and violent criminality by gangs nurtured by IPOB and the people cried out for government intervention. Operation Egwu Eke II was government’s response to it. But like can be deduced from the adage, since there is an innate hatred of the Federal Government by IPOB elements, whatever goodwill extended to the region is perceived in bad light.
Expectedly, they fought back tenaciously and ferociously, to halt Operation Egwu Eke II; they violently attacked soldiers on patrol, deployed the services of hired civil society organizations to lampoon the Federal Government on claims of unwarranted militarization of the Southeast; blackmailed and issued out violent threats. But none of the tricks worked. The Monkey Pox disease vaccination claims of extermination of Southerners was just another desperate attempt by these criminal elements to cause disaffection and hatred against soldiers and the Federal Government to springboard instant withdrawal of Operation Egwe Eke II.
An African adage says, “No matter how the wild howls, the mountain, cannot bow to it”. So, gimmicks are deployed to frustrate the operation of soldiers in ridding the region of armed and violent gangs. Except that they are not potent enough to distract or deter the resolve of government and soldiers in cleansing our communities and extricating them from the grip of criminals.
The propagandists of the Army’s injection of Igbos with deadly vaccines, disconnectedly linking it to Monkey Pox disease only displayed their “Monkey Sense .” They are not using their brains to think. So, they act and behave like the typical wild and foolish monkey, who ends up consumed by the fire of its own tricks or plots. The latest development is a pathetic illustration of the magnitude the Nnamdi Kanu-led rebellious IPOB has injected the people with a destructive monkey sense.
Only those baptized and immersed in monkey wisdom would reason and act this disgracefully before Nigerians. Kanu has led our jobless youths on the destructive voyage and at the same time, usurped their thinking faculties, by hypnotizing them with monkey sense. So, they have continued to manifest in foolishness, silliness and stupidity. They may end up becoming pathetic victims of their own contrivances like monkeys.
In African folklore, entanglements of the monkey, sprouts from what the animal thinks is its best and wisest wisdom. The tortoise is cleverer and wiser. It weaves and fortifies its tricks to protect his life and give him desired results from any action. The tortoise comes out of every problem un-bruised and triumphantly. In spite of its small nature, it once tricked the mighty elephant into a bottomless pit, where it was killed and the blood used to cure a sick king. The tortoise collected his reward for disarming the elephant, an animal dreaded by other animals, even when a handsome reward was offered.
Conversely, Kanu and his followers hate to see our kinsmen imbibe the cherished wisdom of the tortoise. They are scheming to inject everyone in Igboland with monkey brain, instead of the tortoise’s clever brain, necessary for gainfully navigating modern-day politics in Nigeria. The Yorubas and the Niger Deltas are now exploiting the monkey brain of the Igbos for regional gains in the configuration of Nigeria. But the Igbos appear to be learning nothing and they will certainly forget nothing. And so, Igbos unrestrictedly incite themselves against one another, and extend hatred and antagonism to any other nationality in Nigeria.
When our own brothers in drug war invaded a church at Ozubulu, Anambra state and massacred people, some foolish people swore it was marauding Fulani herdsmen. IPOB elements contrive fake news of the injection of deadly vaccinations on Igbos by soldiers, and thereafter, claim it is execution of the Fulani/Hausa agenda of the total annihilation of Biafrans. Do they even imagine the damage such vile and farcical propaganda is doing to the cords of friendship with other tribes in this confederation?
Someone should save us the Igbo race from IPOB, which has already laid it on the slaughter slab. This mentality of dubiously frustrating a noble idea and painting it black, even where it resists such colourations is retrogressive. History suggests that in the days of yore, when the Great Zik of Africa, the proud son/leader of Igbo nation and Nigeria impressed on the colonialists Britain, to give free milk to school children in the region, they rejected it. We flaunted unsubstantiated claims that it was expired milk and the Britons who anchored it intended poisoning our children.
Zik again offered us “Okporoko” fish at campaigns and some also claimed it was poison and extracting a revenge against Zik, Igbos refused to vote for him at the polls. Who has injected us with this more deadly monkey sense? Must we embark on actions likely to boomerang dangerously against our people ?
Madu wrote from 26 Demola Seriki street, Bariga, Lagos.