The Emir of Kanam, Mohammed Muazu II on Friday in Jos called for the involvement of indigenes of states in the campaign to eradicate wild polio virus from Nigeria.
The traditional ruler told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that most people in northern Nigeria had a wrong perception about polio immunisation.
Muazu, who was reacting to the resurgence of the virus in Goza, Jere and Mongonu areas of Borno, said that the indigenes would only submit themselves for vaccination if they were involved in the campaign.
According to him, indigenes should be made spokespersons in the enlightenment and administration of the vaccines.
He also expressed concern that a cross section of the public sees the exercise as being masterminded by some few privileged members of the society to make money for themselves.
This, he noted was responsible for the lackadaisical attitude of most indigenes not allowing their children to be immunised.
“We have received various comments that some people perceive the polio immunisation as a money spinner for some persons, for who large sums of money are allocated annually, therefore will not want to be part of it.’’
He said that adequate sensitisation was needed to enlighten the public on the real benefits of immunisation.
According to the monarch, the wrong idea of the exercise has been due to the brainwashing of the locals by politicians opposed to the government.
“The political elites use their economic power to brainwash some of these less privileged people against availing their wards for immunisation for their political interests.’’
He said that the northern traditional council intended to use the gateway of access to mothers to create more access to the immunisation of children, noting that the mothers were more receptive to the exercise.
“We have noted that mothers can be used as gateways to change the impression of their husbands against the polio vaccination, especially in the Muslim community because they are more receptive to the programme.
“We also intend to use food items and general households’ items to attract mothers to the exercise, we may have to add subtle coercion since the persuasion and cajoling is not yielding the desirable results.
“The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) will be engaged for such exercise and the palace soldiers as symbols of traditional institutions will be stationed at strategic locations,’’ he said.