Nigeria: Three journalists arrested for polio vaccine killings


Health workers board a vehicle that will take them to polio vaccination centers in Lagos, Nigeria.

Three Nigerian journalists have been arrested for allegedly inciting violence against polio workers, Reuters reported. On Friday, gunmen in Nigeria killed 9 people who had been giving patients the polio vaccine. The arrested journalists are accused of inspiring the attacks.

The journalists said on Wazobia FM on Wednesday that immunization against polio is anti-Islam and part of a Western conspiracy to cause infertility, Kano Police Chief Ibrahim Idris told Reuters.

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The killing of the vaccinators is a major setback in Nigeria's fight against polio. "The killing of polio vaccinators in Kano State is a dastardly act that must be condemned by all," the chairman of told All Africa

Polio has been all but eradicated. It remains only in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan because of failure to implement a mass vaccination program in those countries, the World Health Organization says.

The nine workers were shot after a four-day vaccination drive had just ended in Kano State, the New York Times reported. However, Dr. Mohammad Ali Pate, Nigeria’s minister of state for health, told the Times that it's not clear whether or not the gunmen were specifically targeting polio workers.