Mr Batholomew Ochonye, the Country Director, Heartland Alliance International (HAI), an NGO, has identified skill acquisition and empowerment as veritable tools in reducing risk behaviours in a key population of the society.

Ochonye disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.

He defined “key population” as people in secluded areas like prison inmates, lesbians, gays as well as illicit drug users.

According to Ochonye, the empowerment of this key population will engender confidence and assertiveness in them.

He said that skills acquisition and financial independence would go a long way in restoring hope for the key population.

“Someone with job or source of livelihood would not want to risk his or her life anyhow.

“He or she, in spite of the health status, would be assertive and confident in facing the general community,” Ochonye said.

The HAI country director said that his NGO had conducted skill assessment for inmates in Lagos, Rivers and other states of the country.

He said that such an assessment would enable them to know each inmate’s or key population’s area of interest before commencing training programmes for them.

Ochonye explained that the alliance would continue to propagate programmes that would protect and promote the safety of Nigeria’s key population.

NAN reports that according to a UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAID), Nigeria is the second-largest country, with HIV prevalence in the world. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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