The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, has dismissed speculations that vaccines for polio and other communicable diseases cause the death of infants.
The paramount traditional ruler said this during a courtesy visit to Governor Umaru Al-Makura of Nasarawa State on Tuesday in Lafia, the state capital.
He advised politicians to stop politicising issues relating to health care for selfish reasons.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Abubakar III, who is also the President General of Jamaatul Nasril Islam and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, is in Lafia for the 3rd Quarter Meeting on Polio Eradication Routine Immunisation.
He expressed displeasure at reports that vaccines for immunisation have been contaminated to poison certain groups of people and followers of certain religion in the country.
He described the reports as false and warned those spreading the rumours to stop discouraging innocent Nigerians from participating in the immunisation exercise to protect them against polio and other communicable diseases.
“There are two things we must never politicise and they are health and security issues because they affect everybody irrespective of religious or tribal background.
“I was so saddened when we heard that the vaccines contain poison to eliminate certain races.
“We must never play politics with people’s lives. The vaccines are not meant to kill anybody but to protect Nigerians from these communicable diseases.
“We will never support anything that will hurt anybody. So I urge our politicians and others to stop playing politics with the lives of anybody,” the Sultan appealed.
He also urged traditional rulers, religious leaders and other well-meaning Nigerians to help enlighten others on the vital importance of immunisation to end the endemic status of some communicable diseases in the country.
On the mandate of the committee, Abubakar III explained that the committee was his vision set up eight years ago to fight polio and other communicable diseases especially in Northern Nigeria.
`Health is the most important thing to human beings. No matter how strong, brilliant and smart you are, if you are not healthy, you are useless.
“That is why we set up this committee eight years ago to fight polio and other communicable diseases,” he said.
The Sultan commended the Nasarawa State Government for its enviable contributions to the health sector especially primary healthcare.
According to him, the contributions of the state government to health care prompted the committee to choose the state for its third quarter meeting.
“The last meeting we held was around July in Sokoto. It was there we heard of the strides made by the state government in the health sector and decided to hold the next meeting there.
“We thank the state governor and his able lieutenants for giving us tremendous support,” Abubakar III said.
Responding, Mr. Al-Makura thanked the Sultan and other members of the committee for choosing the state for the meeting.
“We are proud and grateful for your advocacy and campaign on health which you have personally embarked on across Nigeria.
“Your efforts on polio and other communicable diseases are efforts that have saved us from dooms day.
“We have nothing to give you but appreciation. We cannot thank you enough for your selfless service to the nation.
“I would like to encourage you to keep up the good work,” the governor said.
Mr. Al-Makura, however, appealed to the committee and state governments in Northern Nigeria to take seriously the threat of Monkey pox so as to prevent it from spreading across the region.
“We should not take lightly this issue of monkey pox, especially for some of us in the North.
“I want to assure you we will commence enlightenment and sensitisation of people to take to immunisation.
“I want to also assure that Nasarawa State will continue to collaborate with this committee in order for it to achieve its objectives,” he said.
The governor also pledged that the health budget of the state for the remaining lifespan of the current administration would be given adequate attention to tackle health challenges across the state.