Nigeria arrests journalists over polio worker killings

KANO, Nigeria Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:42pm IST

Related Topics

KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) - Three Nigerian journalists have been arrested for inciting violence by saying on a radio show that polio immunisations were an anti-Islam Western conspiracy, just days before health workers administering the vaccines were killed.

Gunmen on motorbikes shot dead the nine health workers in two separate attacks in Nigeria's main northern city of Kano on Friday.

No one claimed responsibility but Islamist militant group Boko Haram, a sect that has condemned the use of Western education, has been blamed for carrying out a spate of assaults on security forces in the city.

Kano Police Chief Ibrahim Idris told Reuters on Monday three journalists from Wazobia FM had been detained after they said on their show on Wednesday that immunisation against polio was anti-Islam and a Western conspiracy to cause infertility in women.

Some influential Muslim leaders in Kano openly opose the vaccinations for the same reasons.

The killings could hamper efforts by global health organisations to clear Nigeria's mostly Muslim north of the virus that can cause irreversible paralysis within hours of infection.

Polio crippled thousands of people every year in rich nations until the 1950s. As a result of vaccination, it is now only endemic in three countries - Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to the World Health Organisation, there were 121 new cases of polio in Nigeria last year, compared to 58 in Pakistan and 37 in Afghanistan.

In 2003, northern Nigeria's Muslim leaders opposed polio vaccinations, saying then they could cause infertility and AIDS.

Their campaign against the treatments was blamed for a resurgence of the disease in parts of Nigeria and other African countries previously declared polio-free.

(Reporting by Chukwuemeka Madu; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Alison Williams)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

KOREA FERRY TRAGEDY

REUTERS SHOWCASE

 Marquez Dead

Marquez Dead

Nobel winner Garcia Marquez, master of magical realism, dies at 87.  Full Article 

Life Out There?

Life Out There?

Scientists find Earth-sized world in orbit friendly to life.  Full Article 

Missing Jet

Missing Jet

Drone risks damage at record depth in search for Malaysian plane.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

East Ukraine separatists stay put despite diplomatic deal.  Full Article 

Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran cuts sensitive nuclear stockpile, key plant delayed - IAEA  Full Article 

Punishing Activists

Punishing Activists

China sentences activists for urging asset disclosure - lawyer  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage