President Goodluck Jonathan has condemned the killing of nine health workers by gunmen in Kano on Friday.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President promised that the death would not be in vain as his government would intensify efforts to eradicate polio in the country.
He said he would continue to increase efforts aimed at apprehending terrorists.
Jonathan also ordered that security be increased around health workers across the country.
Reacting to the incident, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Ado Muhammad said, “It is unfortunate and tragic that health workers in the course of their duties were killed. We sympathise with the Kano State Government and the families of the departed. We are still awaiting findings on the incident, but it is too early to conclude that it was polio campaign related.”
The nine female polio vaccinators were killed in two shootings at health centres in Kano, the police told the BBC.
In the first attack in Kano, the polio vaccinators were shot dead by gunmen who rode a tricycle.
Thirty minutes later, gunmen targeted a clinic outside Kano city as the vaccinators prepared to start work.
Some Nigerian Muslim leaders have previously opposed polio vaccination, claiming it could cause infertility.
On Thursday, a controversial Islamic cleric spoke out against the polio vaccination campaign, telling people that new cases of polio were caused by contaminated medicine.
Such opposition is a major reason why Nigeria is one of just three countries where polio is still endemic.
But this is believed to be the first time polio vaccinators have been attacked in the country.
Some Kano residents told the BBC’s Yusuf Yakasai in the city that other people injured in the first attack had been taken to a hospital.
A health official confirmed to the BBC that those killed in the second attack in Hotoro were female health workers – there were earlier reports that people waiting at the clinic may have been among those shot.
Witnesses in Hotoro told the BBC that the gunmen also approached the health centre in a tricycle.