An Indian national, Mr Somen Debnath, on Thursday said that he arrived Lagos on bicycle after visiting 110 other countries in the last 11 years through same means.The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Debnath revealed in Lagos that Nigeria was among the 191 countries he would be visiting to promote Indian culture.
He added that the tour was also to create awareness on the effects HIV/AIDS among young people.
“The whole essence of my ‘Around the World Bicycle Tour’ programme is to promote Indian culture and raise global awareness on HIV/AIDS through the education of young men and women worldwide.
As a youth myself, I strongly believe that youths in every community globally can make the much desired change we all need.
I am in Lagos to sensitise young Nigerians in universities and colleges on what they should know about HIV/AIDS. So far in the last 11 years, I have visited 111 countries including Nigeria on my bicycle.”
Debnath said that he started the HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in his hometown in Sundarbans, India, in May 2004, with visits to NGOs, schools, colleges, universities, commercial sex workers and restaurants.He said that he had visited some students of universities and colleges in Lagos to create awareness among them on how to avoid being infected with HIV/AIDS.
Debnath , a graduate of Zoology from the University of Calcutta, India, said that it was imperative for young Nigerians to abstain from unprotected sex, but to engage in safe sex by using condoms.
He also enjoined Nigerians not to stigmatise or discriminate against persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA)in their communities, but to always show them love and care.He, however, said that his tour had been fraught with dangers and challenges.These include; being held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan, robbed six times in Central Asia to being beaten eight times by skinheads.
Debnath said that during his tour, he also had to contend with wild animals including Rhinos, Elephants, Cheetahs, Pythons and other life-threatening ones.He commended the Indian Government, Indians in the Diaspora and people in the host countries for supporting his global HIV/AIDS campaign tour.
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