NIGERIA. Niger State: Various stakeholders in Niger state have applauded the move by the Niger State House of Assembly to propose a bill for a law that will compel intending couples to undergo medical examination before getting married.
The bill titled “Niger state pre-marital medical examination law 2020” will require people planning to marry to submit themselves to medical tests for HIV/AIDS, genotype, blood group, hepatitis, or other fluids or tissue.
The stakeholders said this would go a long way in sanitizing society and ensuring that both partners in a couple are fit and healthy before getting married.
The bill, according to the Niger State House of Assembly, will penalize those who break the law by either getting three-month imprisonment time or paying a fine of N100, 000, or both.
The stakeholders expressed their support of the bill during the public hearing by the joint committee on Judiciary, Women Affairs and Religious Affairs held at the chambers of the Niger State House of Assembly on 2 Nov.
The bill requires medical testing one month prior to marriage
One of the most important parts of the bill insists that the couple would undertake a medical examination which would be conducted one month before marriage.
The medical examination has to take place at the same time for partners at any public medical facility. Afterwards, a certificate will be issued.
The law states that “the medical result shall be kept confidential and only be handed to the parties or their representatives or the counselor who shall in turn hand over the certificate to the person who is to conduct the marriage contract.”
“No person shall formalize any marriage contract for any person wishing to marry without any medical certificate issued by a qualified medical doctor in respect of both parties”, the law states.
The law also mandated the village heads, ward heads and any other person conducting the marriage to shall ensure compliance with the provision of the law.
Sponsor of the bill
The bill was sponsored by the Member representing Suleja Constituency, Honorable Shu’aibu Liman Iya.
The public hearing had in attendance representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Nigerian Medical Association, the Federation of Women Lawyers, Christian and Islamic groups, FOMWAN, youth groups, the media, and others.