Obasanjo orders free condoms for soldiers

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo has directed the nation's military authorities to provide free condoms for soldiers to protect them from contacting HIV/AIDS.
In addition, the President said all soldiers must be educated on the dangers of "illicit and unprotected sex and particularly abstinence and faithfulness to their partners".
"If they think they must be involved, they must ensure that they are well protected," Obasanjo said while addressing soldiers at a retreat for Disciplined (uniformed) Services in the south-western city of Ibadan on Saturday.
Obasanjo, a retired Army General, told the soldiers that when he joined the military, it was an offence to have or to be infected by sexually transmitted diseases.
"But I joined an army that was known as a colonial army.
After that, the rule was changed.
It was no longer an offence to contact it but to conceal it," he said.
Stressing the need to tackle HIV/AIDS in the country, Obasanjo said "this terrible thing for which there is no cure must not be allowed to take the upper hand in our country.
" With an estimated 2.
6 million Nigerians said to be infected with HIV/AIDS, Obasanjo has been in the forefront of efforts to stem the rise of the disease in Africa's most- populous nation of 110 million people.
Shortly after assuming office 29 May 1999, he established the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA) right under his office, to formulate policies aimed at curtailing the spread of the disease and treating those already infected.
Obasanjo also increased substantially the amount of money allocated to the fight against the disease in the yearly federal budget.

05 august 2001 13:17:00

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