It was a miraculous day for a aged woman in Rivers State, South south Nigeria as the much dreaded Nigerian Army medical outreach brought good tidings to her after many years of blindness.
The woman identified as Mrs Margaret Okere regained her sight after undergoing examination at the Umuokwa Community, Igboh-Etche, in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers States.
The incident which happened on Thursday, came as a surprise to many as Okere told journalists that the programme had brought succour to her and that she see again after many years of her inability to see.
She said: “I regained my sight after the doctors here examined me, gave me eye drop and glass which I can use.
“My grandson brought me here when he heard that there will be a military free medical outreach. I give God the glory, as I can see very well now.
“God bless the Nigerian military for carrying out this exercise.”
Mrs Okere was not the only one who got the dose of the Nigerian Army milk of kindness, Mrs Promise Okechukwu, a native of Umuokwa, said that she and her baby were examined and given the necessary drugs.
She narrated her story of how her baby had been vomiting “Since I put to bed six months ago, my baby has been vomiting but today she has been taken care of free of charge by the army medical team.
“I thank god and very grateful to the army for bringing this programme to my community,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Mr Samuel Nwankwo said that the army free medical programme was the first ever carried out in the community.
Nwankwo said that he was happy and thanked God for directing the army to come to his community.
“Today, I have gotten the opportunity for my eye to be examined and necessary eye drop given to me.
“I thank the army, they are not what people are saying they are, God bless them,” he said.
Mrs Lilian Nwala, another beneficiary, said that she was at the centre for medical examination.
“They are very friendly, as the medical personnel were attending to us one after the other.
“I’m happy for the drugs they have given me after the examination, and I pray this continue,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Mr Clement Emejuru urged the community to cooperate and get themselves treated.
Emejuru disclosed that he was examined by a dentist and all the drugs he needed had been given to him.
“What the army is doing is very fantastic, they are helping us to be healthy and live longer.
“The army has never carried out shooting in Igbo-Etche before, so this is not a programme to scare us but to keep us alive,” he said.
Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), represented by Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, Chief of Logistics (Army), said that the outreach was a civic responsibility to create smooth relationship with host communities.
Buratai said that the army had always carried out positive activities in any community they were to ensure that the people were comfortable.
“In some places that we are, if they don’t have water, we provide boreholes for them to get water, where there are medical challenges; we provide solution for them.
“Places where we think the primary or secondary school is lacking educational materials, we also provide for as part of our civic responsibility,” he said.
The COAS said that the rumoured military vaccine was a creation of miscreants that were not comfortable with military’s resolve to fix them.
“The army has the responsibility of protecting the Nigerian people’s interest, so whatever people say to tarnish the Nigerian Army, we will not bulge by that.
“These are mere propaganda by miscreants and disloyal citizens who go about tarnishing the image of the country and the army,” he added.
Dr Samuel Amaechi, the Eze Onyeishi-Agwuru of Igboh-Etche, commended the Nigerian Army for the free medical outreach and called on his subjects to take full advantage of the exercise.
While urging other agencies to emulate the gesture, the traditional ruler also called for the sustenance of the programme.