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UNSERIOUS GOVERNMENT: OYO STATE AGENCY FOR AIDS CONTROL OPTS FOR FUN OVER RESEARCH IN ITS 2021 BUDGET

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Nigeria according to Avert an International HIV/AIDS charity organization has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world and also has one of the highest rates of new infection in sub-Saharan Africa. To curtail and prevent the spread of this disease in the country, regulatory bodies have been put in place by the Nigerian Government with Oyo State Agency for the Control of AIDS one of such bodies.

Despite the herculean task placed on their shoulders, the agencies according to investigations have drifted far from their mandate which is to research and document HIV/AIDS occurrence in the state. Rather they now engage in frivolous parties, fun, and games to the health detriment of citizens in the state.

According to documents from the 2021 budget, the Oyo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (OYSACA) spearheaded by Mrs. Tamunominini Makinde, wife of the Executive Governor of Oyo State, will be gulping N6.5million for fun and games as it failed to include research and documentation in its budget, a clear indication of absolute negligence by an agency of such importance.

Established on the 5th of July 2011, OYSACA coordinates various activities of HIV/AIDS in the state, with a mandated to research and document on HIV/AIDS, reduce risks of HIV infection by scaling up prevention interventions, increase access to and utilization of HIV counseling, testing, care, and support services in the state.

Though aware of the high level of prevalence of the virus in the State, with about 42% of its residents living with the virus and an alarming number of 6900 positive cases between 2019 to 2020, the agency we learned opted to allocate funds in its intended budget to frivolous items adjudged to be of personal benefit to them.

Further findings revealed a similar incident as a jaw-dropping N11.5million in its 2020 budget was allocated for festivals while research and documentation were omitted, showing that the agency may have long decided to delete research from its agenda amidst growing cases of HIV in the state with ”Parties and Fun” its new agenda.    Critiques of the PDP led administration of Seyi Makinde in the state have condemned the allocation which smells of misplaced priorities by the agency and lack of foresight in using research and documentation in eradicating HIV/AIDS in the state as many opine that a halt in research on the virus simply implies another pandemic in the state as there are no current records of permanent drugs to curtail or totally eradicate the virus but only temporary drugs whose reactions tend to change as the genetic sequence of the virus changes.

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