FIDA Nigeria commemorates International AIDS/HIV day

As the world marks ‘World AIDS Day’ 1st December, 2014, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria, lends her voice to the campaign against stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS, particularly women living with/affected by HIV/AIDS . FIDA Nigeria notes that Nigerian women are already beset with a lot of
obnoxious customs and discriminatory practices by virtue of their status as women, thus allowing stigmatization against women living with HIV/AIDS would be exposing them to double jeopardy.

FIDA Nigeria adopts the campaign on ‘Closing the Gap to Zero New HIV Infections’, noting that that is the way to go in the next phase of the fight against the epidemic. As the western world reinforces their efforts to close the gap and reduce/eradicate new incidences of HIV/AIDS; Nigeria cannot and should not be left behind. FIDA Nigeria
therefore calls on all stakeholders in Nigeria, particularly the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), to rise up to the occasion and join the global force in fighting new incidences of HIV/AIDS. FIDA Nigeria remains committed to provide her support, especially where women are involved.

This year’s commemoration of World AIDS Day cannot be complete without reference to gender-based violence (GBV). FIDA Nigeria notes that the link between GBV and HIV/AIDS can never be over-emphasized. We are concerned that despite efforts of the government and non-governmental institutions in Nigeria, GBV has remained on the increase especially in recent years. While calling upon the Ministry of Women Affairs, the newly constituted Gender Unit of the Nigerian Police and other stakeholders to rise up to the occasion. FIDA Nigeria pledges her unalloyed commitment to partner with them to ensure that our dream of ‘Zero-tolerance to GBV’ is realized.

In line with her mandate to promote women’s rights, FIDA Nigeria is currently partnering with UN Women to provide access to justice for women living with/affected by HIV/AIDS. On the 3rd and 8th of December, 2014, FIDA Nigeria would be running trainings for this target group in Abuja and Lagos State respectively. On 4th and 9th December, 2014, FIDA Nigeria would also hold a stakeholders’ workshop in Abuja and Lagos respectively, to deliberate on the concerns of this target group and articulate ways of addressing them. FIDA Nigeria believes that this is another way to make an impact in their lives.

This project will also carry out sensitization activities to enlighten the public on issues affecting women living with/affected by HIV/AIDS, to reduce incidences of stigmatization and discrimination and restore communal partnership in fighting the disease. This noble initiative is supported by UN Women and FIDA Nigeria is proud to partner with them.

FIDA Nigeria commends the efforts of those who have been striving since the emergence of HIV/AIDS, to stem the tide, noting that together, we can make it.

As we progress to the festive spirit of Christmas, let us remember that it is our collective responsibility to close the gap and ensure that no new incidence of HIV/AIDS is allowed in our society anymore.

FOR FIDA Nigeria:
Hauwa Shekarau
National President

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