Seven employees of the primary health care services of the local governments of Kwami and Billiri in Gombe State are currently under police net “for having diverted 5,450 insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) intended for distribution free of charge in their communities ”.
The state government, with support from the Global Fund, Catholic Relief Services, and the National Malaria Elimination Program, sponsors the free distribution of mosquito nets.
Gombe State Health Commissioner Dr Habu Dahiru told a news conference in Gombe on Saturday that the suspects were arrested on September 10.
Dahiru said ITNs were intended to reduce the burden of malaria in the state, especially among the most vulnerable groups – women and children.
He deplored that the nets were “diverted in an unpatriotic and criminal manner for purposes of personal enlargement by these people”.
He said: “The arrest of the suspects was made possible by staff overseeing the process to ensure that the nets do not slip into the wrong hands.
“They were told by an informant that the nets were loaded into a truck at one of the Gombe markets with the intention of diverting them.
“Following this development, the police were immediately alerted and the vehicle carrying the nets was impounded.
“The traders who were supposed to take delivery of the nets were arrested and their co-conspirators were also identified.
Dahiru said a total of 100 balls of netting were collected from Kwami while nine balls were collected from Billiri, adding that the netting would be distributed to targeted people in the two local government areas.
The commissioner warned against the sale of mosquito nets, stressing that “these nets are for the poor and must reach them free of charge. No one should be paying them. ”
Dahiru expressed appreciation for the efforts of the police, the Department of State Security, members of the Nigerian Civil Defense and Security Corps and members of the public in making the arrest and recovery possible. (NAA)