Tears streamed down the face of 31-year-old Blessing (not real name) as she narrated how her whirlwind romance with a 67-year-old Irish construction worker in Lagos, ended in her getting infected with HIV.
For Blessing, her pain was not just because she had got the virus but that the man, she identified simply as Jim, even intensified his sexual intercourse with her after he learnt of his status more than two years ago.
Blessing walked into the Area F Police Command, Ikeja on Thursday, inconsolable to report Jim’s alleged action.
When she faced journalists on Friday, however, things took a dramatic turn as she screamed at reporters and shielded the man she had accused from being interviewed and photographed.
“You see what you have done now? We could have settled this at home,” she was heard telling the man, who also became furious and lashed out at reporters.
“Jackass, liars. Get out of here,” the Irish man told journalists.
When the scene calmed down somewhat, Blessing launched into a narration of a romance, which she said later devastated her.
She said, “We have been dating for some years. I work as a real estate agent, while he works with a construction company.
“In January 2014, he became ill. He was always sweating and running temperature. So, I accompanied him to see his doctor in a hospital in Ikeja. He was given treatment for malaria but the hospital also ran some tests and usually, they run HIV tests without telling the patient just to be sure.
“When the result came out, we went to see the doctor. I heard the man asking him if I was his sex partner but he said no. The man also asked if he could speak with him in my presence, he said no. When we left, he was given some drugs, which he hid from me.
“Any time he wanted to take the drug, he hid it. Then one day, I caught him taking the same drug. I asked him what it was for and he said it was for a recurrent leg pain he was getting. I wrote down the name of the drug and searched for it on Google. That was when I learnt that it was anti-retroviral drug used for HIV.
“I confronted Jim and asked if he had HIV, he denied it flatly. I then told him to give me his doctor’s number so that I could confirm myself. He said no. While he was sleeping, I took his doctor’s number from his phone and called the man. The doctor told me that he could not speak on the phone and said I should come and see him. When I went there, he broke the news to me that Jim was HIV positive. He then decided to run a test on me. It confirmed that I was HIV positive. I felt like dying.
“I was so angry because he deliberately infected me. I know this because he protected his family. Around the time we went to the doctor together, he sent his wife abroad to ensure she did not contract the virus. But in my case, the sex even intensified that I was happy that he was falling in love with me more every day.”
Blessing said after the initial test, which showed she was HIV positive, the doctor recommended a second test, which again proved that she was indeed HIV positive.
According to her, she was devastated and angry at how her life had changed for the worse.
“Jim denied that he infected me and even accused me of infecting him even though the doctor said this could not have been so considering the fact that it had not manifested in my body in any way, while he had fallen sick long ago,” Blessing said.
She said despite her anger, she still did not want to report the matter to the police.
She said, “But I told Jim that he had to take care of the cost of my medication and had to make sure I was comfortable since he was the one who infected me. He then agreed to pay me N2.5m.
“But he started abusing me. He would say no man would dare marry a girl with a disease like me. I threatened to report him to the police and he said I should go ahead. He said I would become depressed and commit suicide due to stigma if I did that.
“I packed out of his house in anger. Then, one day, I went to his house and found him in bed with my best friend. He did not care. The humiliation was why I decided to finally come to report to the police.”
In Nigeria, non-disclosure of HIV status to a sexual partner and deliberate infection of a partner are criminal offences enshrined in the Sexual Offences Act 2015.
Section 24 and 39 of the law criminalises the “intentionally, knowingly and willfully” transmitting HIVand an act where a person “intentionally fails to disclose to the person in respect of whom an act which causes penetration is being committed, that he or she is infected by HIV or any other life-threatening sexual transmissible disease.”
Jim, who was furious for most part of the encounter with journalists, continued to say that Blessing infected him instead.
“She wanted money from me,” he said.
Jim said he had been in Nigeria for more than 40 years.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DolapoBadmus, said the police were still conducting investigation on the case.
She said, “At the moment, we are treating the lady as the victim and the man as the suspect. If our investigation reveals anything to the contrary, we will amend our focus on the case.
“But we are also going to look for the friend, whom the complainant said she found naked with the man to determine her status. If we find her and she requires test and treatment, we will ensure she gets that as soon as possible.”
UBA Boss Advocates Curriculum Overhaul To Equip Graduates For Technology Advancement
The Group Executive Director of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr Liadi Ayoku, has called for the overhaul of the training curriculum in financial institutions across Africa to reflect current technological realities, which according to him will reflect the modern business expectations and ensure the relevance of graduates to the continent’s economic growth and aspiration.
Ayoku, said this while delivering a keynote address during the annual lecture of the Faculty of Management Sciences, Lagos State University (LASU) titled: “The Future of Finance – Technology at Play” on Wednesday. He explained that finance graduates and professionals must be aware that it was no longer business as usual following the fast-changing technological landscape.
He said, “I am not certain if the finance and accounting graduates of today are familiar with modern financial softwares packages, including global accounting and financial reporting standards.
“Have they been imbibed with the ready-to-market soft skills like leadership, communication, commercial acumen, flexibility/openness to change and strategic vision? “If not, I will like to propose an overhaul of the curriculum to accommodate these,” he noted.
Ayoku further explained that with technology replacing basic financing, the finance professional that would excel in the future must be quick to retool and adapt to changes.
“Traditional knowledge of finance is getting stale in today’s business world and indeed there is dire need for retooling our skills if we must remain relevant n tomorrow’s financial world. Technology is fast replacing the basics of finance,” he surmised.
According to Ayoku, financial reporting is increasingly being automated, just as data analytics is demystifying performance analysis. Tomorrow’s finance professionals must have capabilities for business intelligence and cognitive analysis. “We must apprise ourselves of the most recent technology and continue to retool our skills to remain relevant today and into the future,” Ayoku said.
The Chairman of the occasion, Dr Rotimi Oladele, the Executive Secretary, Institute of Entrepreneurship, commended Ayoku for delivering a profound paper worthy of equipping account graduates for a future driven by technology while also praising the Chairman of UBA, Mr Tony Elumelu for his contribution to entrepreneurship in Africa, describing him as a ‘global brand of the rarest value’. He said LASU would benefit from its collaboration with the entrepreneur.
“No doubt Tony Elumelu is not just a Nigerian of rare value to Nigeria but a Premium African of rarer value and of course a Global Brand of rarest value. Tony Elumelu today as an ultrapreneur is known all over for breeding entrepreneurs and start-ups in thousands and with millions of dollars ceaselessly in support for sustainability.
“We believe LASU partnering with Elumelu could be the best testimonial of a befitting support to the most multi-cultural and multi-tribal university in Nigeria. The profile of LASU Staff and studentship speak for this fact,” he said.
The LASU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Lanre Fagbohun, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof Oyedamola Oke, thanked UBA for its support and sponsorship noting that a bank that believes in the support of education is indeed a special institution.
Jim Ovia Foundation Funds Over 100 Students In Computer Education
The Jim Ovia Foundation has funded the education needs of over 100 students in computer science and other related courses under the NCS-Jim Ovia Scholarship scheme. The scholarship scheme is a collaboration between the Jim Ovia Foundation and the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS).
Since the inception of the NCS-Jim Ovia Scholarship Award in 2015, Jim Ovia Foundation has continuously renewed its annual commitment of ₦ 15.75 million to fund 35 new beneficiaries under the scholarship,providingfor their studies and research in Computer and Information Science, Computer Engineering, Information Architecture, Information and Systems Technology and Information Technology and Systems Practice.
These 35 beneficiaries include 20 undergraduates, 10 Master’s degree students and 5 Ph.D students studying computer-related courses in tertiary institutions across Nigeria.
According to Mr. Jim Ovia, Founder/Chairman of Jim Ovia Foundation, “In this age of digitization and the use of the Internet for inclusive growth in the world economy, the Jim Ovia Foundation looks to maximize opportunities to provide education and technical know-how to empower youths in Africa to position themselves at the forefront of world-class information technology development.”
To apply for the scholarship, visit NCS at www.ncs.org.ng for details.
The Jim Ovia Foundation was founded in 2004 and is dedicated to investing in African youths’ unlimited and untapped potential as the key to their socioeconomic growth and improved standard of living. The Jim Ovia Foundation through its various programmes, including the James Hope College Foundation, Jim Ovia Foundation Leaders Scholarship (JOFLS) and Mankind United To Support Total Education (MUSTE), has supported over 3,500 young persons in education and entrepreneurial endowments all overAfrica.
Visit www.jimoviafoundation.org to learn more.
300-Level UNIBEN Undergraduate Commits Suicide Over Alleged Heart Break
A 300-level student of the Department of Medical Laboratory Science, University of Benin (UNIBEN), Miss Christabel Omoremime Buoro, has committed suicide after a break-up with her boyfriend of many years.
Christabel, aged 21, was discovered on Tuesday evening at her hostel flat at Plot 4, Uwaifo Lane, Newton Street, Ekosodin area in Ovia North East Local Government Area.
Witnesses said the body of Christabell was discovered after she allegedly took some deadly substance to end her life.
An empty sachet of Klin detergent was found at the spot where she took her life.
According to the source, “a small girl of that age will take her life all because of one boy. The policemen that came to evacuate the body were very angry after reading out loud the note she dropped.
“Thank God that she even dropped a note, if not the roommates would have been in hot soup, because investigation would have started from that point.”
Two persons were said to have been invited by the Police for questioning over contents of the letter.
In the suicide note, she reportedly stated that she took her life because the guy she loved didn’t love her in return .
The institution spokesman, Mr. Michael Osasuyi, said the incident did not happen within the school premises.
Osasuyi said a team had been dispatched to investigate the incident and report back.
He said the team was yet to submit its report.