Nigerian state introduces strict anti-polio laws

The government of a Nigerian state recently made arrangements to establish a series of mobile courts in order to prosecute parents who refuse to allow their children to be given the polio vaccine.

The courts will operate across the 25 local regions of Niger State, located in northwestern Nigeria, and have been given the power to fine guilty parents or impose a six month prison sentence, according to

Chairman of the State Taskforce on the Eradication of Polio and Deputy Governor of Nigeria State Ahmed Ibeto said that the state has also decided on further measures to halt the spread of polio. The government has approved of a measure requiring all vehicles to be stopped and searched. All children eligible to receive the vaccine will then be examined and vaccinated.

Ibeto said police and Niger State militia groups in all of the 25 local regions will accompany immunization officers in order to enforce compliance, reports.

Polio, a crippling illness that predominantly affects children, has been eradicated throughout much of the world. However, it remains endemic in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Despite a coordinated polio-prevention drive in all three countries, dozens of children are paralyzed or die from the disease every year.