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Bill for protection of people living with HIV/AIDS passes second reading in Benue

By The Citizen
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A bill for the protection of rights of people living with HIV/AIDS on Wednesday passed second reading at the Benue House of Assembly.

The bill also seeks to prohibit acts of HIV based stigma and discrimination.

Leading the debate on the bill, the Majority Leader, Mr Paul Biam expressed worry over the devastating effect of stigmatization and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.

'Naturally stigmatization and discrimination have devastating economic, social and psychological effects on human beings.

'The anti-stigma and discrimination bill 2013 therefore, seeks to enlighten and conscientise members of the public to accept, relate and live with HIV/AIDS victims as they do to other human beings,' he said.

Biam further stated that the purpose of the bill was to establish a legal framework for the coordination and management of people living with HIV/AIDS.

The leader said that it was also aimed at discouraging stigmatization and discrimination against people living with the virus.

He said that when the bill was passed into law it would ensure that test results were held in confidence except otherwise.

Biam also said the law would also ensure that victims of the disease were treated free of charge.

In their separate remarks, Dr Joseph Onah (Oju 1) and Dr Jairus Erube (Oju 2) lamented the level at which people discriminate against people living with the virus and stressed the need to urgently stem the ugly trend.

Onah regretted that some medical personnel denied persons living with the virus access to health care which most times lead to their untimely death.

The duo urged their colleagues to give the bill accelerated passage in order to reduce the stigma and discrimination against people living with the virus.

Mr Kenneth Iyo (Gwer West) noted that some victims of the disease refused to go for medical treatment for fear of being stigmatized and urged them to do so.

Iyo, therefore, moved a motion urging his colleagues to allow the bill be read the second time because of its importance.

Ruling on the matter, the Speaker, Mr Terhile Ayua said that when passed into law,the bill would strengthen the health sector and encourage social interaction among the people.

Ayua further referred the bill to the committee on Business and Rules to slate it for debate at a later date. ##

Obi approves N1.3b for retired LG workers in Anambra

Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra has approved the sum of N1.3 billion for the payment of gratuity of retired local government workers in the state.

Addressing some of the retired workers in Awka on Wednesday, Obi assured them that their money would be paid directly into their bank accounts.

He said the money approved was for the payment of the last batch of outstanding gratuity owed retired workers between November 2012 and January 2013.

According to him, this was the first time in the history of Anambra State that a government has cleared all the liabilities arising from gratuity of retired workers.

'What we are doing today is to give people their entitlements, we don't owe gratuity.

'Today's payment is the last batch of accrued gratuity, and so far, we have paid up to N33 billion', the governor disclosed.

He noted that the payment was not politically motivated, saying 'my concern today is to ensure that a leadership that will promote orderliness and accountability succeeds me'.

'Everything has to be orderly to benefit everybody and that is what I want to enthrone in Anambra State', he said.

He advised the retirees to vote wisely during the Nov. 16 governorship election in order to enthrone a responsible leadership that would be alive to its responsibilities.

The governor said that he would not contest for any position after the end of his administration.

'I will not be a minister and I will not be a Senator, I will stay out and advise those in government'', Obi said.