On Monday, June 21 2010, a group of youths attempted to forestall the immunization of children against childhood killer diseases in Damaturu, Yobe State. The youths who fought the immunization officers trying to prevent them from immunizing their younger ones also destroyed a good quantity of the vaccines in the process.
We are happy however, that the Nigerian Police Force was up to the task and forestalled what would have been a full blown crisis perhaps between Christians and Muslims as it is always the case.
The Emir of Damaturu, Alhaji Shehu Hashim Ibn Umar El-Kanami in a swift reaction sued for peace and called on all Muslims to bring out their wards to be immunized as he is convinced that the vaccines are safe and will ensure the survival of children.
It will be recalled that a few years ago, a similar incident was witnessed in Kano where children were denied immunization for no just reason.
Last year, the richest man in the world, Mr. Bill Gates visited Nigeria. Bill Gates through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had joined the crusade against polio in Nigeria by supporting it financially. On his visit to the country recently, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) recounted that through the efforts of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in conjunction with other Non-Governmental Organisations and the government; only three cases were witnessed in the country out of the 288 cases of polio cases witnessed last year. Kano State which had hitherto been the centre of polio in the country has not witnessed a single case in the last 17 months. This goes a long way to prove the potency of vaccines administered in the country.
It is disheartening that healthy youths who benefitted from these vaccinations while they where young instead of using their energies to campaign for the vaccination of their younger ones to also grow healthily turn around to put them at the risk of contacting some of these incurable diseases.
Our youths must resist been influenced by desperate politicians seeking selfish gains to the negation of life. Immunization against child killer diseases is a worldwide practice.
All vaccines used in the country are certified by the relevant government agencies like the Ministry of Health and National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). These institutions comprise both Christians and Muslims. It will be wrong for a group of people to assume that impotent or rather poisonous vaccines will be channelled to a particular group of people for suspicious reasons that cannot be ascertained. Moreover, there is no state in the federation that is inhabited by a single religion.
Nigeria is amongst the few countries in the world that have high infant mortality rate with 94 deaths per 1000 live births.
All hands must be on deck to ensure that this record is overturned.
The youths who were arrested must be interrogated and brought to book alongside their instigators or sponsors.