25th February, 2013
POLIO VACCINES: MURIC CONDEMNS MINDLESS KILLINGS
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has followed the controversy on POLIO VACCINES with deep interest. We have long expected that Government or at best one of its relevant agencies would have addressed the alleged presence of harmful elements in the vaccines in order to allay the fears of suspicious Nigerians. Rather than this honourable option, the Federal Ministry of Health has allowed all kinds of interpretations of the alleged harmful elements.
As at today, many Nigerians believe rightly or wrongly that the oral anti-polio vaccine contains sterile components that render children incapable of reproduction. It is also believed that there are components in the oral vaccine that ultimately cripples children when it is administered on them. It has been alleged that there are medical case studies in India which has proven that the oral polio vaccine administered on children proved fatal as almost all the children became cripples over a short period of time.
The agitations against this oral polio vaccine in Northern Nigeria, especially among Muslims, has been on for many years. Against the background of the PFIZER fatal drug experimentation some years ago which left many children with series of biological malformations and the attendant unworthy financial compensations of the victims, one can not dismiss this anti-oral polio vaccine agitations as false alarm.
Yet Nigerians may become better informed with widespread enlightenment campaign on oral polio by government. Afterall smallpox was eradicated in 1979 after mass vaccination around the world including here in Nigeria. It is important to note that after mass anti-polio vaccination, India for the past two years has had no single report of paralysis due to the notorious polio virus.
Record of decrease in polio cases should have been enough if only government uses the information effectively. In 2008 Nigeria had 788 polio cases. This fell to less than 400 in 2009. Polio cases reduced to just 21 in 2010. But in a sudden twist, 62 cases were recorded in 2011 while 122 children were paralysed in 2012. Incidentally, almost 99% of the children paralysed by polio have Muslim names. This is where we find the objection of some Muslims to the use of the polio vaccine ironical and self-defeating.
In this context therefore, MURIC hereby advises the Federal Government to match propaganda with achievement. It appears enough has not been done to carry the local population in some Muslim communities along. Government should also compel an independent investigation into this brewing scandal. The continuous silence of Government on this matter will further aggravate the allegation that Government Agencies often collaborate with foreign interests to put the lives of Nigerians in jeopardy.
In the same vein, MURIC urges serious restraint on the part of fellow Muslims in their reactions to the perceived inaction of their Government. There is no way one can justify the mindless killings of health workers by unknown gunmen. While we commiserate with the relatives of the deceased and support the search for and the prosecution of the criminals, we strongly appeal to the Federal Government and the Governments of the affected States to empanel a body of medical experts to analyse the components of the oral polio vaccine with a view to unravelling the mysteries associated with it.
Professor Is-haq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),