INVESTIGATION: How Nigerian
health officials connive with hawkers
to steal, counterfeit mosquito nets
A Premium Times investigation
• 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
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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
• 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
• Kindly read the story on Premium Times'
• 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.
• 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
• Someone else was beaten on their second visit to
• 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
• 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
• It was quite stressful doing the story as I
travelled a lot that period.
FAKE TREATED NETS WITH REAL