Senate bans discrimination against HIV/AIDS victims
The Senate yesterday passed a bill seeking to prevent the stigmatisation and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria.
Senators unanimously approved a punishment of either two-year jail term or a maximum of N1 million fine on any institution or organisation which disclosed the status of an infected person.
Also, any individual who discloses the status of an infected person which he or she obtains in confidence shall be liable to a fine of N500, 000 or a one-year jail term, according to the new legislation.
Chairman Senate committee on Health Senator Ifeanyi Okowa (PDP, Delta) who sponsored the bill said the legislation essentially seeks to protect the human rights and dignity of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Okowa also added that the bill is intended to encourage those that were infected, to declare their status in a more friendly Nigerian community and said with the passage of the bill, the risk of transmission will be reduced if the bill was invariably signed to law.
The bill made it an offence for any employer, institution, body or individual to request an HIV test as a pre-condition to an offer of employment and access to public/private services or opportunities.
It further made it an offence for any educational institution, private or public, to demand HIV / AIDS testing as part of its routine medical testing requirements for admission or accreditation of learners.
The bill further stipulates that every person living HIV / AIDS shall be assured of freedom from unlawful termination of his or her employment by reason of his or her status.
Meanwhile, the Senate has also confirmed the appointment of Mr. Emmanuel Olusanya and Alhaji Shettima Umar Gana as members of the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission.
The Senators have adjourned plenary sessions for the Easter break to resume on April 29th.