Lawmaker Explains How Rape Fuels HIV Spread In IDPs Camp
There are reports of spread of HIV/AIDS in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across Nigeria and this is becoming worrisome to members of the House of Representatives.
This increase has been linked, by a lawmaker, to increasing cases of rape at different IDPs camps.
At plenary on Wednesday the lawmakers deliberated on the issue raised by Aishatu Dukku representing Gombe.
Moving the motion, Dukku told other lawmakers that recent records from Borno State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (BOSACA) showed that 512 new cases of HIV infections were recorded at the IDP camps in the state.
“Official records had earlier shown that no fewer than 5,000 IDPs in 27 camps were living with the virus.
“The report also revealed that none of the camps was providing HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, anti-retroviral refills or continuous counselling.
“Only a portion of those infected with the virus can access treatment,” she stated.
High Rate Of Sexual Abuse
Giving further details on her finding, the lawmaker said only 32 of the 90 anti-retroviral centres in the state were still operational.
According to her, the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response (SPHERE) recommended the provision of anti-retroviral drugs to IDPs or refugees as minimum standard for health services in crisis situations.
Concerns were further raised by Dukku over what she referred to as the high ‘rate of sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation of the IDPs by unscrupulous camp officials’.
She alleged that rape, also perpetrated by members of the host communities and older IDPs, were largely responsible for the Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) ravaging the camps.
After deliberations, the lawmakers unanimously resolved to investigate the report of the spread of HIV/AIDS.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, mandated committees on Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees, Initiative on North-East Zone, and Healthcare Services to investigate the matter.
Dogara also urged the committees to make urgent and appropriate recommendations on ways to ameliorate the spread of the virus and report back within four weeks.
Over 4 million persons have been displaced in the last seven years when Boko Haram began a push for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the northeast and an end to Western education in the region.
Most of these persons are still in IDP camps since their communities were taken over by insurgents.
However, heightened counter-terrorism operations in the region have decimated the terrorists.
On Tuesday, the Nigerian Air Force released a video of an air strike from its aircraft supporting Operation Lafiya Dole.
The Air Force said it conducted the air interdiction mission on the remnants of Boko Haram members who were gathering in a village, 3.42 km North East of Mangosum in Borno State.