The Writers Against AIDS, WAAIDS, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to probe and investigate the financial transactions of State Agencies for the control of HIV/AIDS across the country, headed majorly by some wives of a few State Governors.
According to WAAIDS, it is no more news that Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, and is home to the third largest number of persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Poverty, stigma, embezzlement of HIV/AIDS grant funds, discrimination, and a poorly coordinated health system, constitute major barriers to HIV treatment and prevention efforts in some States.
This was contained in a Press release issued and signed by the National Coordinator of the group, Mr. Wole Adedoyin, in Ibadan, on Sunday, after a strategic meeting with some Stakeholders in the State.
According to WAAIDS, the HIV funds which ought to have been used in taking care of people living with AIDS, were either diverted into an unknown account for selfish purposes, or used for unknown activities, whereas hundreds of people living with HIV/AIDS are dying everyday. In some States, Chairmanship and membership into the State Agency for the control of HIV/AIDS is now political. As some Politicians think it is an avenue of making their millions, not minding hundreds and thousands of lives begging for care, attention, and medication.
“It is our opinion that the Agency for the control of AIDS should be headed by Medical Practitioners who are well versed in the field, and not the wives of elected State Governors, who have seen the position as their constitutional rights.
“It should also be noted that every new infection starts with someone who is already infected. New infections occur, because infected persons do not take the necessary precautions, or because of poorly organised protective services. Patients are also not being sufficiently educated on their responsibility to prevent the spread of HIV, and are not being included in protective service. HIV diagnosis is a traumatic experience that significantly changes a person’s life. Many people in Nigeria are still unaware of their status; these and others should be the watchwords of those Agencies at the State level, but they failed to discharge them.
“We are therefore, calling on the EFCC to beam her searchlight and investigate fraudulent activities going on in some of these State Agencies. Their accounts should be audited. Valuable lives of people living with HIV/AIDS are wasting everyday for political reasons.”