President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday assured that the Federal Government is firmly committed to ensuring that polio is totally eradicated from all communities across the country
The President spoke through Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Polio Eradication where stakeholders deliberated on determined and ongoing government efforts to combat the spread of the deadly disease in the country.
In a statement by Laolu Akande, spokesman to Prof Osinbajo, President Buhari regretted that there had been a resurgence in some North-Eastern States because of the Boko Haram insurgency, especially among communities that were recently liberated by the Nigerian military from the strangle-hold of terrorism in the region.
President Buhari also charged Nigerian State Governors, many of whom were in attendance at the meeting, especially those with new cases of polio in their domain, to tackle polio with all the seriousness and commitment it deserves, restating the commitment of the Federal Government to opening up access in communities involved to ensure vaccination.
As the Vice President recalled, President Buhari had personally signed the Abuja Commitment in January 2016 with the State Governors as a demonstration of his resolve to ensure polio is completely eradicated in Nigeria.
He added that the Federal Government would release funds appropriated for the eradication of polio once the budget was passed into law.
Speaking earlier, Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole noted that the Federal Government has deployed all available resources for the coordination and management of outbreak response particularly in areas where children are inaccessible due to insurgency.
The Minister who presented the country’s position on efforts to combat polio, told stakeholders of FG’s commitment towards eradication of polio, recalling for instance the prompt release of budgeted funds in the 2016 budget.
At the meeting where representatives of World Health Organisation, (WHO), United States Centre for Disease Control, interfaith leaders, and traditional leaders. The meeting held immediately after the National Economic Council (NEC) in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking on behalf of State Governors, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulazeez Yari joined other international stakeholders like WHO and the US CDC to laud Federal Government’s commitment in the fight to eradicate the polio disease.
He pledged that States would continue to partner with the Federal Government towards eradication of polio in the country.
Nigeria achieved a historic feat by marking one year without a case of Wild Polio Virus Type 1 on 24th July, 2015, having declared polio outbreak a national public health emergency in the country.
Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity)