By Mohammed Yangida
The Adamawa House of Assembly on Wednesday passed a law for compulsory HIV and genotype (sickle cell anaemia) test for couples before marriage.
The law was unanimously passed after the third reading of the bill at plenary presided over by the Speaker, Alhaji Kabiru Mijinyawa.
A motion for the third reading of the bill was moved by the Majority Leader, Mr Hassan Barguma (APC-Hong), and seconded by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Emmanuel Tsamdu (APC-Madagali).
Following the passage, the Speaker directed the Clerk of the Assembly to make clean copy of the bill and send to the governor for his assent.
Parts of the bill stipulated that any couple intending to marry would be subjected to a compulsory HIV/AIDS and genotype test that should be conducted in public hospitals or registered diagnostic centres one week before the marriage.
The bill also required that the certificate of the two tests should be presented to any religious institution or the clergymen of church or mosque where the wedding would be contracted.
“Any person or persons who have complied with this law in fulfillment of the requirement of the previous marriage shall not on this basis evade undergoing the test when contracting any subsequent marriage,” the proposed law stated.
Part three of the bill also made case for non-discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS and sickle cell anaemia in the state.
“Individuals, communities, employers and employees have a mutual responsibility to prevent discrimination on basis of HIV (AIDS) or Sickle Cell Anaemia in the society.
“No cultural practice or tradition shall encourage documented practices that exposé people to risk of HIV infection,” the bill said.
It further provided for a penalty of N150,000 for individuals and N500,000 for organisations or imprisonment for a period not less than one year or both for any person or institution found guilty of non-compliance with the law.
With regard to organisations, the head or representatives of the board of the organisation would be held liable, the bill said.