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  1. INVESTIGATION: How Nigerian health officials connive with hawkers to steal, counterfeit mosquito nets A Premium Times investigation Tobore Ovuorie
  2. Background • Even as malaria remains prevalent in Nigeria- the number one killer ailment, so has the counterfeiting of anti mosquito nets remained on the increase, exposing more citizens to its deadly effects. • There have been terrible complaints about Long Lasting treated Insecticide Nets in Nigeria, popularly called treated mosquito nets. Most complaints bothered on terrible skin rashes and suffocation inside the nets. • Infants and children of other ages as well as women have been victims
  3. • New born babies, children of other ages as well as women were the major victims uncovered during the investigation. • One of these women almost lost her toddler to the net which she thought was over treated. Until this investigation, like many others, she never knew there were fake treated nets.
  4. • Sadly, latest scorecards released by NOI Polls- a leading opinion polling and research organization, showed that seven in 10 Nigerians (66% of the population) had malaria at least once in 2012. • It accounts for over 45% of all outpatient visits in Nigerian hospitals. • It accounted for 25% of infant mortality and 30% of childhood mortality in Nigeria in 2010.
  5. • Consequently, one of the Nigerian government's response to malaria is the use of treated mosquito nets which ought to protect users from mosquito bites. • But this has not been effective due to prevalence of counterfeited treated nets and corrupt health officials who connive with counterfeiting syndicates and hawkers.
  6. METHODOLOGY • I had to go undercover to uncover how criminals in this booming industry operate. • To investigate criminals, an investigative reporter must understand criminality and criminals. These, I have been doing and did. • I made close friends with the retail medication sellers who sell both the genuine and fake nets. • Went as far as helping them in their stores to win their trust and have thorough insight about their operations.
  7. • Through them and some other shady characters popularly known as area boys in Nigeria, I got contacts of the real criminals who sell the products in wholesales. • With the wholesalers and importers, I pretended that I was on market survey for my boss who wanted to invest millions of naira in the business.
  8. FINDINGS • Kindly read the story on Premium Times' website: 4-investigation-nigerian-health-officials-connive- hawkers-steal-counterfeit-mosquito-nets.html
  9. MISTAKES/SETBACKS • Spy cameras were faulty. Instead of postponing the last phase of the investigstion, I went ahead. • The videos I could have recorded would have aided the security agencies in nabbing the criminals via individual recognition. • Made the mistake of giving my actual mobile number to one of the retail medication sellers. I wasn't with the phone which had the special number I use for investigations.
  10. • The counterfeiters got my actual number and started harassing me. • They had got hints that I was a journalist. They tried bribing me to drop the story, when I refused, they started threatening me. • Was traced to my apartment. Luckily for me, I wasn't home.
  11. • Someone else was beaten on their second visit to my apartment. • My landlord was uncomfortable with the nature of my job so issued me a quit notice! • The counterfeiters are now on my list of people I watch out for. • Had to stay away from my apartment for over a year.
  12. WORKING CIRCUMSTANCE • I did the story alone but giving regular feedbacks to my editors. • Also discussed the progress of the story during editorial meetings for colleagues' inputs. •Though I multi tasked and was handling another story within that period, I had time for the story. • It was quite stressful doing the story as I travelled a lot that period.
  14. THANK YOU!!! • Contact Details: • E-mail: • Twitter: @daughterofmit • Facebook: Tobore Mit Ovuorie • LinkedIn: Tobore Mit Ovuorie • Blog: