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Move to criminalise rejection of polio vaccines gains support

Campaign effective amidst security challenges
THE apathy and misunderstanding of the objectives of the anti-polio campaign is gradually giving way to a well-co-ordinated assault on the childhood disease.
States and traditional rulers, who earlier oppo…

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Mohammed-Ali-PateCampaign effective amidst security challenges

THE apathy and misunderstanding of the objectives of the anti-polio campaign is gradually giving way to a well-co-ordinated assault on the childhood disease.

States and traditional rulers, who earlier opposed the exercise over fears of foreign powers’ attempt to check the population of their people, have joined the campaign to strip polio naked.

To demonstrate that their support for the scheme goes beyond mere statements, the states and traditional rulers apart from mobilising their subjects for the exercise are even pushing for a law that would make it an offence for parents or guardians to disallow their children and wards from receiving Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV).

Some governors and monarchs, who spoke with The Guardian on the immunisation scheme, said the proposed law should make it mandatory for parents to immunise their children against polio and for its rejection to attract punishment.

In fact, some concerned states have gone ahead to enact laws that make immunisation against child diseases mandatory and the rejection of the vaccines a punishable offence.

Bauchi, Benue, Rivers and Jigawa states are in the fore-front of efforts of have a legal frame-work for the anti-polio campaign. The Rivers State government is using the child’s rights to achieve the goals while Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, has sent a bill to the House of Assembly seeking the lawmakers’ consent to make immunisation free and compulsory.

But there is a general belief that a law passed by the National Assembly making immunisation compulsory and its rejection an offence would produce the desired results.

Some state governors and health officials, who spoke with The Guardian on the renewed assault on polio, urged the two arms of the federal legislature to add a legal bite to the campaign.

And despite the security challenges in the country, the Federal Government through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the Presidential Task Force on Polio Eradication (PTPE) have broken fresh grounds in the just concluded four-day National Immunisation Plus Days (NIPDs).

The Guardian’s appraisal of the exercise across the country showed that over 80 per cent of the target population was reached.

It was also learnt that the virus had continued to spread in the country because of the rejection of the vaccines due to the perception by a section of the country that it is a Greek gift from the West to check Nigeria’s population.

To ensure effective coverage and guarantee vaccine administration, the Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam, has appealed to the National Assembly to enact a law that enhances children’s rights to immunisation.

The Emir of Dass, Alhaji Usman Bilyaminu Othman, who doubles as Bauchi State Chairman of the Traditional Rulers Committee on Polio Eradication, however blamed the fresh outbreak of wild polio virus in Gamawa Local Council on the care-free attitude of some parents to the health needs of their children.

He said laws regarding defaulters of polio immunisation were underway, and when enacted, would deal decisively with offenders.

Chairman, PTPE and Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, told The Guardian that “though there were challenges, the last nationwide campaign was a huge success. I am impressed with the success we recorded, especially in the high-risk states of Borno and Yobe. The Federal Government has assured the people and government of the states in the North with new polio cases of its full support in the current efforts to ensure peace, stability and well-being of the entire people of the state.

The National Polio Free Torch Campaign was launched in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Monday, April 1, 2012.

The task force is mandated to fast-track the eradication of polio in the country and ensure a better outcome on the nation’s health indices, especially on primary healthcare system.

The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad, said successful launching of the polio torch campaign by the minister’s team and the partners was a clear indication that Borno was safe for all activities.

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Lagos Policemen Brutalise PUNCH Journalists For Covering #EndSARS Protest

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Lagos Policemen Brutalise PUNCH Journalists For Covering #EndSARS Protest

Two PUNCH journalists, Femi Dawodu and Segun Odunayo, were on Wednesday brutalised by policemen guarding the Lagos State House of Assembly in Ikeja.

The duo had gone to cover events around the Alausa area, a major demonstration ground of the #EndSARS protesters calling for a total overhaul of the Nigeria Police Force.

According to the PUNCH, both Odunayo and Dawodu were recording a live video of activities in the area when the policemen accosted them and ordered them to stop the recording.

After showing the policemen their identity cards, indicating that they are journalists covering #EndSARS protests and monitoring compliance with the government-imposed curfew, the policemen became annoyed and pounced on them.

Odunayo said the policemen tortured them for four hours, adding that they stripped them of their clothes, laid them on the floor, beat them with a stick and guns, and took a video recording of them while torturing them at the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Odunayo said, “Femi and I were at the Secretariat in Alausa around 7 am and were doing a live video of the activities going on in the area. We were heading back to the expressway when a group of armed policemen accosted us at the Lagos State House of Assembly roundabout and immediately collected our phones. We showed them our ID cards, but they refused to let us go.

“What got the policemen annoyed was that we saw them using a stick and a rubber to beat a young man, and during the live video, they heard me saying that they were beating someone. So, after they arrested us, they tortured us and demanded that we should do another live video denying the statement, but we refused.

“Each Time we refused, they slapped us, used a stick to beat us, used the butt of their guns to hit our heads and bodies after stripping us of our clothes. All they wanted was for us to do another live broadcast to claim that we lied and we didn’t because we told the truth.”

Dawodu said it took the intervention of the state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi before they were released at the Alausa Police Station, adding that before their release, the policemen took their details, including their addresses, took a video record of them and threatened to go after them if any negative report was published about what happened.

He said, “The policemen were transferring the aggression of what is happening regarding the #EndSARS protest on us. They later took us to the Divisional Police Station in Alausa, and if not for the DPO, the policemen guarding the LSHA that arrested us would have done more grievous things to us.

“The PPRO and the DPO later spoke with them, and we were released.

“But despite his intervention, we were told to write statements. They collected our details, address, took video recordings of us making false statements during the torture, and threatened to use it to blackmail and go after us if we end up doing any bad report against them.”

Sahara Reporters

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CCTV At Lekki Toll Gate Was Not Removed -Lekki Concession Company Says

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CCTV At Lekki Toll Gate Was Not Removed -Lekki Concession Company Says

Lekki Concession Company in their press release has debunked the rumour that the Lekki Toll Gate CCTV camera was not removed.

Lekki, Ikoyi tolls will rise on February 1 – LCC - Ivory NG

According to the press release by the company which condemns the unlawful killings of the peaceful protesters said no one gave the order for the removal of the Closed Circuit Television System as the CCTV is still intact as of the time of this report.

Speaking further, the concession company revealed that if the CCTV was to be removed, it would require the use of machinery to reach the heights that they have been installed.

Read the release report below;

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Government official has a hand in the present situation of the country – Babangida

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Government official has a hand in the present situation of the country – Babangida

Former Military president of Nigeria, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has disclosed that the government has a hand in the mayhem going on in the country.

The 79-year-old made this remark owing to the massacre in Lekki toll gate and other parts of the country. He quoted Gen. Sani Abacha and disclosed that any insurgency that exceeds 24hours is being manipulated by the government.

Taking to his Twitter page he wrote;

“Once again, I will like to quote Late Gen. Sani Abacha: “Any Insurgency that lasts more than 24 hours, a government official has a hand in it.”

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