By Amina Ahmed
Bauchi lawmaker, Mrs Maryam Begel, said on Wednesday that investigations conducted revealed that the HIV virus is spreading faster in matrimonial homes in most Northern states of the country than outside the home.
Begel, representing Dass constituency in the Bauchi House of Assembly, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi that it appeared precautionary measures were taken by partners only when meeting outside matrimonial homes, than when at home.
“We did an investigation and discovered that HIV virus is spreading faster in matrimonial homes than outside.
“This is because most males take precautionary measures when they sleep with outsiders but hardly take such measures when they meet with their wives.
“This is especially the case in settings where polygamy is allowed and you find a husband infecting some or all of his wives with the deadly virus,” she said.
Begel, who is also the chairperson, Committee on Women Affairs, Bauchi House of Assembly, described the development as worrisome.
Meanwhile, the lawmaker said she would work towards reviving the bill on “Compulsory HIV Test before Marriage”, initiated by a former member of the 7th Bauchi House of Assembly, but was scuttled due to outside pressure.
Begel who once served as the ‘Child Protection Officer’ with an international non-governmental organization, ‘Save The Children’ (UK), said passing the Bill into law was long over-due to safeguard the health of people, especially women and children.
NAN recalls that the Bill, sponsored in 2012 by Hon. Ilyasu Zwall, had sought to make the screening of HIV by partners, compulsory, before marriage.
It recommended that any person that contravened the provision of the law be liable, upon conviction, to a fine of N160, 000, or punishment for not less than five years, or both.
In case of corporate organisations, it recommended a fine of N500, 000 or the sealing of the hospital or diagnostic centre for a specified period, or both.
NAN however recalled that when the bill was referred to the then House Committee on Health, nothing was heard about it again.
The sponsor of the Bill, Hon. Zwall, then Chairman, House Committee on Security, had told NAN that pressure from people scared of the law that would make it compulsory to go for the test before marriage, made the committee to frustrate the bill.