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Published On: Sun, Jun 15th, 2014

Alleged misappropriation: HIV/ AIDS patients threaten mass protest in Abuja

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By Stanley Onyekwere.

People living with HIV/ AIDS under the agies of Network of People Living with HIV/ AIDS in Nigeria(NEPWHAN) have called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to investigate the Project Manager of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Agency for the Control of AIDS (FACA), Dr. Uche Okoro, over an alleged financial impropriety.

Calling for the immediate sack of Dr.Okoro, for allegedly misappropriating $225 million from World Bank to support the HIV/AIDS intervention in FCT, they threatened to embark on mass street protest in Abuja if the FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, failed to meet their demands within the next one week.

According to a communiqué, signed by the FCT Coordinator of NEPWHAN, John Okene ,which was issued after a meeting of the coordinators of support groups of people living with HIV/ AIDS in FCT, last week, the association arrived at this resolution following alleged continuous insensitivity of the FACA Project Manager to their needs and his lack of transparency with funds meant for their upkeep.

The communiqué read in part: “The House resolved that Project Manager of FACA, Dr. Uche Okoro, should be removed from office as a matter of urgency and replaced with someone who can feel the pulse of people living with HIV/ AIDS.

“We call on the EFCC to, as a matter of urgency, investigate the alleged $225 million from the World Bank to support the HIV/AIDS intervention in the FCT.”

The group said it has also declared two days fasting and prayer for the removal of Dr.Okoro, for sending some of its members to their early grave due to lack of care and support.

Also, they opposed the exclusion of NEPWHAN FCT from the implementation of the World Bank HIV/ AIDS project, presently on-going.

According to the association for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission Care (PMCTC), HIV/AIDS patients mothers are now forced to pay for caesarian sections in all FCT health facilities, except the National Hospital, which he said is not supposed to be so.

“We have not received anything from FACA, as purportedly claimed in an Abuja-based newspaper of April 14-20, 2014. We are not opposed to any proof by FACA, if presented.

“Finally, we appeal to the minister of FCT to quickly respond to our protest letter before him, to avoid another round of protest, since the supervisory body, FACA remain as insensitive as ever, not minding whether our members are dying or not,” the communiqué added.


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