THE GREATER Accra Regional Minister, Sheikh I.C. Quaye, yesterday caused an amusing stir in Parliament when he told the House that “mosquitoes certainly do not need my permission, visa nor air ticket to fly from one region of the country to another”.
“My information however is that so long as there are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, they can be carried miles into any territory even to Europe and America.
Consequently, we cannot control the influx of mosquitoes into the Greater Accra Region,” he said.
Sheikh Quaye, whose statement was greeted with thunderous laughter in the House, was answering a question posed by Hon Alfred Abesi, the Member of Parliament for Ashaiman.
Agbesi asked the Regional Minister what steps his outfit had taken to control the influx of mosquitoes into the region so as to bring malaria cases under control in the Accra-Tema vicinity.
As soon as the Regional Minister was called by the Speaker of the House to answer the question, there were spontaneous shouts of “It's big oo!, it's big oo!” and “odomos, odomos, odomos,” from both sides of the House.
As if that was not enough, Sheikh Quaye, also the MP for Ayawaso Central, threw the House into a fit of uncontrollable laughter when he declared that mosquitoes did not need his permission to move from place to place.
The answer obviously did not go down well with some MPs including Alfred Agbesi and Dr Benjamin Kunbuor of Lawra-Nandom, who stood up to catch the Speaker's eye, but without success.
Realizing that Dr Kunbuor was still standing, the Speaker, Rt. Hon Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes, told him: “I don't entertain points of order; I will ask you to contribute later.”
Sheikh Quaye told the House that one surest way of reducing mosquitoes was to clean drains regularly so that no stagnant water would serve as breeding grounds of the vectors of malaria.
He said the various District Assemblies had been encouraged to construct more drains in many residential areas and they were encouraged to clean these drains as often as possible.
“However, despite efforts by the District Assemblies, lack of public co-operation, notably the continuous indiscriminate throwing of refuse into drains has affected the effectiveness of the District Assemblies' efforts,” he said.
He announced that the Japanese Embassy in Accra recently donated 8,072 treated mosquito nets to the Greater Accra Regional Co-ordinating Council, which would be given to selected educational and health institutions, based on their needs.
“I wish to call on my honourable friend, Alfred Agbesi, to join me in our fight against mosquitoes so as to reduce the menace of malaria in Greater Accra.
The minister stressed mosquitoes in Accra migrated from Ashaiman.
The Ashaiman MP took exception to the Regional Minister's last comment, describing it as “unparliamentary, unministerial, should not be on record and should be withdrawn.”
But for the timely intervention of the Speaker, who ended matters on the subject, many MPs had wanted to challenge Sheikh Quaye on some of his comments.