Borno closes public schools amid Monkey Pox panic

It was gathered that the Borno Government on Thursday announced the closure of  37 public primary schools in Maiduguri as a result of confusion and  pandemonium in its schools over alleged vaccination against Monkey pox disease.

Alhaji Shettima Kullima, the Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), made the announce  in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Maiduguri.

Kullima said the closure of  the affected  primary and post basic schools in the  capital  would continue until further notice.

He explained that the decision to close the schools followed the confusion  in the affected  schools over  alleged administration of harmful monkey pox vaccines to the pupils.

Kullima dismissed allegation as  “false and misleading”, saying that the government was not carrying out  vaccination in schools.

“It is a rumour perpetrated by mischief-makers to disrupt peaceful learning environment in the schools.

“I was informed of the ugly scenario resulting to  the confusion. The schools were directed to close down until we address the issue.

“The State Health Management Development Agency confirmed that there was no such vaccination going on in our schools,” he said.

Kullima said that the Board would embark on sensitisation so as to raise  awareness in communities and  dispel the rumour.

NAN reports that pandemonium erupted in schools when unverified  information  circulated, alleging that pupils would be immunised with contaminated Monkey pox vaccines.

The rumour spread widely in the state capital and many  parents rushed to pick  their children from  schools.

Scuffle ensued between parents and  teachers at Sanda Kyarimi, Gwange I and III Primary Schools, who closed their gates against parents who came to  take their children home.

A mother, Aisha Bala,  said she was told that some non -governmental organizations (NGOs) were allegedly administering ‘virus-contaminated vaccines’ on pupils.

“I am told that any child who receives the vaccine will die. I rushed to save my children from danger,” she said.

Another parent, Malam BubaYusuf, said that he got a message on social media alerting parents to about  the purported ongoing Monkey pox immunisation, adding  that the message indicated that the harmful vaccines would be given to children in public primary schools.

Zainab Idris, a Primary-3 pupil, recounted that she heard other pupils shouting that vaccinators were in the school to administer deadly vaccines on them.

“There was screaming and everybody was running.  I rushed towards the gate and made my way out of the school”.

The situation has since brought under control by members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and security agents deployed in the affected schools.

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