Okon Bassey in Uyo

More than 600 pupils of Government Primary School, Mbak Atai Itam in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State recently smiled home with education materials donated to them by the Nigerian Army, 2 Brigade Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

The Commander, Brigadier-General Abdul Ibrahim Hassan personally gave out the materials, including hard cover and 80 leaves exercise books, pens, pencils, rulers, erasers and math-sets among other items to the pupils and their teachers.

Each of the pupils was given half-dozen of the exercise books, a pen, pencil, ruler, eraser and math-set to encourage them in their education pursuit.

Following recent rumours that soldiers were going round schools in the state to immunize pupils, THISDAY learnt that there was tension in the school as the villagers and parents suddenly gathered when the convoy of the Army vehicles drove into the school.

However, the tension faded and paved the way for a calm and peaceful atmosphere when it was realised that the visit of the soldiers was for the donation of educational materials to the pupils and teachers.

Hassan, who briefed stakeholders in the community, explained that the donation of the educational items was part of the civil responsibility to their host community like other organisations.

“The perception of people about the military to a large extend had always been in the negative and to actually do away with such perception we are trying to reach out that not only are we here to defend them but we are part and parcel of the larger society.

“So as part of our civil responsibility like any other organisation, we decided to come here and present this token to the pupils so that it will encourage them and the community to look at the military with a new light.

“By the time the news got to the community what the military came to do in the school most of them will have a new thinking and a new perception about us.”

He encouraged the pupils to read hard, be disciplined and obey their teachers, parents and guardians so as to be useful to the family, state, and the nation.

Responding on behalf of the pupils, Miss Victoria Aniedie thanked the Nigerian Army for the kind gesture and promised to make good use of the books.

“We are very happy for what the military have done for us in the school, may God bless them. When I go home I will tell my parents that the army that came to our school didn’t come to give us vaccination for us to die but to give us books and other educational materials to make learning easy for us.”

The Head Teacher of the school, Mr Anthony Akpan said the donation was a good impression between the Nigerian Army and members of the public.

“Before now, we had rumours of army going round schools to inject or immunize pupils with deadly vaccine. We now see all that were rumours, there is no true in it, we are very happy to receive them in our school.”