President of the Christian Council of Nigeria, CCN, Rev. Dr David Onuoha, has called on the federal government to make a law that will criminalize the stigmatization of persons living with HIV?AIDS in Nigeria. Onuoha, an Anglican Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, express his deepest concerned on the plight of the number of young people living with HIV and the impact of stigma on their lives they receive everyday of their interaction.
The clergyman make this advocacy on Wednesday and Thursday at three-day training held in Abuja in conjunction with the World Council of Churches (WCC) based in Switzerland on HIV self-stigma and life-building skills for vulnerable communities in Nigeria.
He noted that Nigeria is one of the African countries with highest numbers of victims of HIVAIDS epidemic with about 1.9million persons living with the life threatening disease especially young adult and children.
He explained that living with HIV/AIDS was not a divine sentence or judgment for sin, however, urged the federal government to do all that is possible to end stigma so that the victims will live a happy life like every other Nigerian.
In his statement, “We strongly advocate for the enactment of enabling laws that will make stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS a punishable offence in Nigeria.
“There is, therefore, no basis for stigmatizing our brothers and sisters who live with it because they are no less human, less able and capable of fulfilling their destiny in life,” he said.
Meanwhile, representative of the WCC, Gracia Ross, said the program was meant to tackle HIV/AIDS self-stigma among young people, said it was not as deadly a disease as people think.