Bill on Stigma, Discrimination against people living with HIV/Aids presented to Kogi Assembly

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A private member Bill for a law to Protect the Rights And Dignity of Persons Living With HIV and AIDS in Kogi State has been presented to Kogi State House of Assembly.

The Bill which was presented on the floor of the House at plenary on Thursday in Lokoja was sponsored by Hon. Bin Ebaiya Shehu Tijjani (APC-Lokoja I).

The bill was tagged: “A Bill For A Law To Provide For The Prevention Of HIV And AIDS Based Discrimination And Protection Of The Rights And Dignity Of People Living With And Affected By HIV And AIDS And For Other Related Matters, 2024.”

The Bill when passed into law, shall prohibit all forms of stigmatization and discrimination against Persons Living with HIV (PL-HIV) in the state.

According to the introductory letter of the Bill read by Speaker of the House, Rt Hon. Aliyu Umar Yusuf there has been pervasive stigma and discrimination against persons living with and affected by HIV across the state.

It further said that the situation had placed a severe burden not only on the personal health and wellbeing of the individual affected but on the procedures, facilities and outcome of treatment and care for them.

This, according to the letter, has continued to affect the transmission of the HIV and threatens to reverse the gains from prevention interventions achieved in the last 20 years in Kogi State.

“With this situation, it has become imperative for stakeholders to collaborate and corporate in strengthening structures for promotion and protection of the rights and dignity of persons living with and affected by the virus”, the Speaker read out.

It said that one of the interventions was the sponsorship of the Bill to protect the rights and dignity of Persons Living with HIV in Kogi State.

The further said that the Bill was the outcome of an advocacy campaign championed by the Initiative for Grassroot Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA), with support from AIDS HealthCare Foundation (ACF) International.

While Part 1 of the Bill deals with the Preliminaries, Part II provides for protection of the Rights of People Living With or Affected By HIV from Discrimination on the basis of their status; Part III gives General Information part IV dwells on Monitoring and Legal Enforcement.

Speaking with newsmen shortly after the presentation of the Bill on the floor of the House, Hamza Aliyu, the Executive Director, Initiative for Grassroots Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA) said the Bill development went through several participatory stages.

Aliyu said that various stakeholders including Ministries of Health, Women Affairs and Social Development, relevant Departments and Agencies as well as HIV-inclined Civil Society Organizations were all involved in the Bill development.

The Thursday presentation of the Bill is the first step and it is expected at the next stage of its legislative journey, to be listed on the Order Paper at the next plenary for the First Reading. (Ends)

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