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Last Updated: Monday, 20 August 2007, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Nigeria probes HIV graduate test
Nigerian women in church
Nigeria is a deeply religious country
Authorities are investigating a church-owned Nigerian university which has imposed compulsory HIV testing for its graduates, officials say.

The National Universities Commission (NUC) says it has summoned the leadership of Covenant University to explain its controversial policy.

"We are trying to find out if it's true that students are being tested for HIV and pregnancy," an Nuc spokesman said.

Nigeria's AIDS control agency says the new policy is illegal.

But the Covenant University says its policy had been misunderstood by the media.

"We are not testing our students for HIV," Covenant University spokesman Emmanuel Igban told the BBC News website.

"What we do is a general medical test at the point of entry or admission and at graduation."

The university says it wants to produce "total graduates" which means in addition to passing all examinations, Covenant University graduates must be "morally upright" too.

The National Agency for the Control of Aids (Naca) calls the university's action "a breach of the fundamental human rights of the students".

Covenant University is owned by the Pentecostal Living Faith Church of Nigeria.

The university's academic year is made up two sessions called "Alpha" and "Omega".

The Anglican Church in Nigeria advises couples to take an HIV test before they can marry in church.

The church says the move is to enable parishioners to make "informed decisions" when choosing marriage partners.

Nigeria is a deeply religious country with her 140 million people almost evenly divided between Christians and Muslims.

Naca says 4.4 per cent of Nigeria's 140 million people live with HIV, the virus that causes Aids.


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