ABUJA, October 12- The Nigerian Army has dismissed claims on social media alleging troops were behind a motive to depopulate the south-eastern regions through monkeypox.
An outbreak of the disease has coincided with a medical outreach programme the uniformed forces are carrying out in the region that is experiencing demonstrations by agitators of self-rule.
Colonel Sagir Musa, Deputy Director Public Relations 82 Division, denounced the accusations as “silly and mischievous.”
“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,” Musa said.
The army’s publicist said the “wicked, ill motivated rumour and lies” was the handiwork of “unpatriotic elements” bent on discrediting the Nigerian Army.
“At the moment they will not succeed,” Musa said.
“The public is hereby please requested to disregard the wicked rumour for the good of the people.”
Monkeypox broke out late September in the Bayelsa State.
Some 31 cases, with no casualties, have been reported after it spread to Akwa Ibom, Cross River Rivers, Ekiti, Lagos and Ogun States.
Monkeypox is a rare viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms in humans similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although less severe.