Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Polio Immunisation - Monarch Seeks Legislation Against Defaulting Parents

As the nation continues to battle the challenge of Wild Polio Virus, with 117 new cases this year, a traditional ruler, the Sa' Peyi of Garki, Alhaji Usman Nga Kupi, has called on the National Assembly to provide legislation to punish parents who refuse to present their children for immunisation.

The traditional ruler stated this during the monitoring of the 2012 immunisation plus days in Abuja at the weekend.

He said it was a shame that Nigeria was the only country in Africa that was still battling with the virus; a situation he said has caused the World Health Organisation (WHO) to make polio immunisation compulsory for all Nigerians travelling abroad, regardless of their age.

He also berated those still refusing to immunise their children for spurious reasons, stressing that unless there was punitive measures, people would continue to hide under the guise of religion and tradition to reject immunisation.

"We have spoken to our people, most especially the Muslims to disabuse their minds that polio immunisation is family planning in disguise or a bid to reduce population by the government because no responsible government will bring problems to the people but solve existing ones," he added.

Kupi also advised the FCT administration to hold sensitisation workshops for traditional rulers in the territory where they would be sensitised to go back and enlighten their people on the benefits of polio immunisation.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed said the immunization exercise was to mop up all children which were not captured in previous immunisation exercises.

He appealed to the traditional ruler and his chiefs to take the message to their various domains and educate their people against rejecting immunisation.

Mohammed disclosed that there was currently, a reported suspected case of the virus in a 23-month-old child in Kuje area council, Francis Ananayas, whose stool has been taken for testing.

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