From Wole Adedeji, Ilorin
Nigeria is witb Afghanistan and Pakistan as the only three nations in the world where polio is yet to be eradicated because of the insurgency there, the Rotary Club International has said.
Chairman of the Rotary Polio Eradication Committee in Kwara State Otunba Rick Oladele made the disclosure at the Palace of the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari.
Oladele led his committee members to intimate the Emir of the Rotary Clubs in Kwara on plans to immunise 5, 000 children in Ilorin and other parts of Kwara against Polio to celebrate this year’s World Polio Eradication Day.
He lamented that polio cases were particularly prevalent in the North East states of Nigeria because of the activities of insurgents which made it difficult for global and local health aid workers to function.
He told the Emir that the committee was in the palace for the the Emir’s royal blessing as the immunisation exercise commences this Saturday.
Oladele also told the Emir that the committee relied on the Emir to through his chiefs reach communities in Ilorin Emirate to bring their children out for immunisation against Polio.
Nigeria clocked two and half years of being polio-free before a case of the virus was discovered in Gere local government of Borno State.
According to him, Polio reared its ugly head back in North East because of the crisis there, adding that the virus still also exist in volatile areas of the world like Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
“Polio can be prevented through immunisation of children of five years old and below,” Oladele said.
He told the Emir that Rotary Club has been spending money since 1985 to produce vaccines to fight the virus among children.
“Cost of vaccinating a child is about three dollars which translates to about N1, 080. It is our ambition to see that Polio is eradicated in Nigeria,” Oladele said.
In his response, Alhaji Sulu-Gambari commended Rotary Club for its resolve to end Polio in the country.
The Emir assured the committee of his readiness to assist in making the immunisation a huge success.
He promised to send messages to all chiefs and village heads in the four local governments of the Emirate to mobilise parents to present their children for immunisation on Saturday.
“God will reward you for what you are doing to eradicate polio in the country,” the Emir prayed.