This Day (Lagos)

14 February 2013

Nigeria: FG Will Tighten Security Around Polio Workers, Minister of Health

Kano — The state minister of health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate has disclosed that the security of polio vaccinators and all other health workers would be given special priority as the lives of the polio workers came under serious security challenge.

Dr. Pate pointed out that security operatives would continue to be vigilant at the health workers, so as to avert the reoccurrence of similar incidence, stated that it has also been seen as very unfortunate the killing of ten polio workers recently in Kano.

Speaking in Kano when led the delegation of Northern emirs on sympathy visit, said he was in Kano from the federal government to emphatically dismiss what the gunmen did to the polio workers as unfortunate and highly inhuman.

"We came with a letter of condolence from the federal government to condole with the families and the people of the state over this heinous crime. We are also bringing the sum of N1m to each of the affected families of those that lost their love ones. And the sum of two hundred thousand to each of the families of those that are receiving treatment in hospital."

The Minister further revealed that similar unfortunate incidence happened in Yobe, of recent, where two polio workers were killed and expressed dissatisfaction over another similar thing that also happened in Borno.

He also prayed for the Emir of Kano over what happened to him a few weeks back, "No amount of money could bring back the lost ones. What the federal government is giving is just an incentive", he stated.

Speaking also, state Governor who was represented by his deputy, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, commended the effort of the federal government for sending a special delegation to be in Kano to commiserate with the government t and people of the state.

He also described the killing of the polio workers as wicked and unfortunate. "We are still assuring Mr President that this killing will not deter us from going ahead with the fight against polio disease. Your coming is very encouraging".

The Deputy Governor said the state government had already made a headway in the fight against polio, adding that by December, 2013 polio would be eradicated in Kano. We are determined that the routine immunization would continue and would also be persistent.

Dr Ganduje further encouraged that the state government has signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the state and Dangote and Bill Gate Foundations. "When the journey is tough it is the tough that will keep moving. We are tough and we will continue to be one, until when we eradicate polio in the state".

When he visited the Emir's Palace, the Minister condoled with the Emirate Council over the death of the palace guards that lost their lives during the attack on the Emir on 19th January, 2013, he also commiserated with the palace over the death of the polio workers.

The Wamban Kano, a senior councillor who received the delegation on behalf of the Emir, who was still in London since after attack, commended the visit and urged federal government to henceforth tighten security around polio workers in the state.

He believed that what happened was a trial from God. He therefore called on people to repent and pray for a peaceful living in the state and the country in general.

"We will continue to support polio eradication campaign and immunization. We will also continue to support the security agencies in ensuring peace in the state and the country at large", he revealed. Wambai called on the federal government to tighten border security, so as to frustrate any illegal supply of arms into the shores of Nigeria.

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