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Nigeria: April 16, 2004
   

 The campaign by some Moslem clerics in the north to forbid polio immunization has led to the spread of the disease to  previously polio-free areas in west and central Africa. Among the countries seeing their first cases of polio in many years are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Togo. The Nigerian mullahs insisted that the immunization was a Western plot to sterilize Moslem women with contaminated polio vaccine. It has taken nearly two years to deal with these absurd accusations, and in the meantime thousands of children in Nigeria and neighboring countries have gotten polio. Although the local governments in northern Nigeria now allow the vaccinations, some Islamic activists still preach avoidance of the polio vaccine.