The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, declared yesterday that any Islamic cleric preaching against immunization is fake and does not have the interest of the people at heart.
Sultan who is the president general, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) made the observation at the NYSC permanent Orientation Camp in Wamakko town of Wamakko local government area during the National flag-off of the July 2017 Sub-National Immunization Plus Day in Sokoto.
The religious and traditional leader noted that Islam encourages any endeavour that could lead to good health, adding that without good health, humans cannot even worship their God.
He said, “Most Nigerians from the ages of 50 and above were freely immunized, hence, we continue to wonder why they as parents are now refusing to allow their wards to be immunized. Routine immunization against wild polio virus is better than treatment.
“Therefore, let us not allow our children get crippled by polio. Supposing there is law that proscribes punishment for any parent whose ward gets crippled because of wild polio virus, no parent would be non compliant”.
He suggested that the federal government budget for health should provide for a meeting with stakeholders including traditional leaders.
Speaking earlier, the director general of National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib lamented that Nigeria is currently the largest country with the highest number of children who are not immunized.
He added that the country remained the second country with the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world.
In a bid to speedily right the wrong, Faisal said government has taken some steps to re-launch routine immunization in the country.
His words: “Since my assumption of office, we have been brainstorming and reaching out to various key stakeholders in the landscape on how best we can re-brand, revamp and re-launch routine immunization and strengthen PHC within the shortest possible time.
“To this end, we have reeled out 4 strategic directions to reposition the activities of NPHCDA, quickly closing out on polio, strengthening routine immunization, focused PHC revitalization and strengthening governance accountability”.
On his part, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, maintained that government is committed to reversing every negative statistics about Sokoto through deliberate effort at ensuring that the right thing is being done.
He also added that the state government will not hesitate to punish any local government chairman who does not take the issue of immunization within his domain very seriously.