The Nigerian Federal Government plans to immunize 41 million children against polio before the end of the year as part of efforts to ensure complete eradication of the virus in Nigeria by 2017, says Health Minister Isaac Adewole.

The minister told newsmen in Maiduguri, about 850 kilometres northeast of here Sunday that the goal was to ensure that polio was eradicated in Africa by next year, adding that similar immunization campaigns would take place in neighbouring Niger, Chad, Cameroon and the Central African Republic (CAR) as part of joint effort to ensure the eradication of the virus with the target of making Africa polio-free by 2017.

“We have an elaborate ring-fence immunization that is going to take place not only in Nigeria, but also in Niger, Chad , Cameroon and the Central African Republic,” he said.

The Federal Government planned to conduct five rounds of immunization against polio before the end of December. “We have done one in the immediate area, where we immunised about 800,000 children and we will do another round of four states to 18 states and go back to do another round of 18 states,” he said.

“By December, we will have immunized nothing less than 41 million children under five years of age in Nigeria.”

The discovery of the wild polio virus in Borno Stae in the North East was a great setback to the country’s journey toward final eradication of polio, he said, adding that “we thought that we had overcome polio, unfortunately between July and now, we detected four new cases”.

“One case of polio alone is unacceptable, because it is equal to an outbreak.”

He, however, said the discovery of the virus in communities liberated from the Boko Haram insurgents were was not totally unexpected.