Kano — Dozens of officials handling polio immunization in Kano State have been fired because they were using the exercise as a "money-making venture", Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso has said.
Speaking on Saturday during the launch of a new phase of the polio immunisation exercise, the governor said he directed the replacement of all managerial officers because they were found to be engaged in corruption thereby retarding the anti-polio campaign.
Kwankwaso did not give a specific number of the officials affected, but he said they were of the level of director downwards at the state level as well as immunisation officers of the 44 local government areas.
Polio is surging in parts of the North, after years of efforts to eradicate it appeared to be working. Stakeholders in the campaign, which receives international donor funding, last year set 2013 as end date for the disease.
But experts are skeptical of this dateline, as polio stages a comeback in Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Bauchi and other states in the North.
Kwankwaso said he was worried that efforts to eradicate polio were not yielding the desired success.
He said there were still pockets of rejection of the polio vaccine in parts of the state, and warned that his administration will take measures to enforce the immunisation to save vulnerable children.
Nigeria is among the only three polio-endemic nations in the world, the others being Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Years of campaign to eradicate the disease in Nigeria were sabotaged by suspicion of vaccine contamination in 2004, which led to massive boycott of immunisation.
The rejections have waned in many places, and over the past two years stakeholders were upbeat on the eradication process.
But this year has seen many new infections in several states of the North.