A Non-governmental Organisation Fortress For Women in conjunction with Global Hiv/Aids Initiative Nigeria (GHAIN), organised a rally on Saturday 15th November, 2008, to sensitise the public about HIV/AIDS.

The rally which started at the Head office of Fortress for Women in Hotoro Kano, saw a convoy of volunteers, NYSC members, security agencies, counselors and other stakeholders drive through various busy streets in Kano Metropolis, talking with people and also giving out leaflets containing vital information about how to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. At some major junctions and roundabouts, the group sang, danced and performed short playlets and gave messages in the three major Nigeria languages hausa, Yoruba and ibo, to buttress and drive home the message for people to abstain from unprotected sex, be faithful to one partner and where the case may be, practice the right use of condom.

The convoy stopped over at Abadie Street, a popular red light spot in Kano where they took a break to enlighten the residents about the need to know their HIV/AIDS status. They also went into brothels to talk with commercial sex workers to do voluntary counseling and testing.A lot of the commercial sex workers were so willing to do the test that they stood in long queues with other residents who also wanted to know their status.

The Executive Director of Fortress for Women, Barrister (Mrs) Florence Barewa told media men that the rally was timely especially now that the festive period is approaching and its obvious that a lot of people like over-indulging during celebrations. She said that the rally was tagged “Be fortified. Know your HIV status”. When asked why the focus is so much on women, she replied “women suffer more in the African community. They are sometimes infected by men. Ironically, women are also sometimes saddled with the responsibilities of looking after infected people.We want to encourage every woman to stand up and say no to HIV/AIDS, by rejecting unhealthy relationships and things that will put them at higher risk.”

In conclusion, when asked her advise to people especially the young ladies, Barrister Barewa said “you have a whole life ahead of you. You might just be d next female president that the world is waiting to celebrate. You might just be the next inventor that the world is waiting for, why jeopardize your future by having premarital sex? Why indulge in risky behaviours that will not lead to your attaining your dreams, aspirations and visions in life? Wake up and take your stand”!

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Okey Bakassi must read this!