By Ayobami Agboola, Osogbo
A writer and Chief Executive Officer of Pen Publishers, Nigeria has berated the act of promoting the use of modern contraceptives among teenagers, as against abstinence, by the Society for Family Health and other major stakeholders in female reproductive health and rights.
Mrs Haleemah Alli-Bankole gave this caution at the 2020 Pen Publishers Sensitisation Talk/Prize Giving and Book Presentation, held in Osogbo, Osun state capital.
She urged parents, Non Governmental Organisations and all other concerned bodies as well as individuals to join hands in the advocacy on abstinence among teenagers in the country.
The prolific writer posited that emphasis should rather be on abstinence from sex at the tender age instead of educating and exposing them prematurely to modern contraceptives.
Alli-Bankole frowned at the rate at which students are being exposed to sexuality by merely telling them to protect themselves instead of admonishing them to totally abstain from it.
During the book presentation titled “My Chastity, My Pride” Alli-Bankole explained that Pen Publishers has been pursuing vision of promoting abstinence among teenagers for close to a decade.
“It is heartbreaking to us to see how The Adolescents 360 Projects M” is being executed in Nigeria. The project is aimed at increasing the use of modern contraceptives among 15-19 year-old girls in Nigeria.
“Adolescents 360 brings together a consortium of partners in a number of fields. It also links sexual and reproductive health of teenagers to mentorship programmes, advocating increased contraceptive uptake among teenagers with the sole purpose of reducing the population growth of the targeted country.
“The Society for Family Health is executing the Adolescent 360 Project M through the “9ja girls” where they have ‘safe spaces’. They meet on Saturdays in some states around the nation and the girls are made to believe that the use of modern contraceptives is a step towards achieving their dreams.
“There are also Facebook pages and website where teenage girls are connected and educated on this concept.
“My call today is for everyone to rather join the Society for Family Health’s old campaign – “Zip up” which stands for abstinence , Abstinence is not new to our culture, our faiths (Islam and Christianity) and common sense”.
“If Indeed Adolescents 360 reduces teenage pregnancy, what about easy spread of HIV and upward surge of STD’s; infertility in marriage , loss of dignity and indeed increased moral decadence, The author queried:
Ali-Bankole therefore advised the Society for Family Health on the need to return to the “Zip Up” advocacy for the teenagers.
In a speech, a clergy and a Christian Religious Knowledge teacher in the State Teaching Service Commission, Dr Oluwatoyin Peter enjoined teenagers to guard their chastity and regard it as sacred.
She urged female children to desist from anything or any activity that is capable of luring them into losing their chastity and pride.
Dr Peter warned them not to visit young men alone, and If they must visit, they should go in the company of others.
“Don’t be a glutton. If you must drink during that visit, let it be opened in your presence or open it yourself. Once you notice that the cover is loose, keep smiling and systematically say goodbye before they persuade you to take your drinks.
“Don’t go anywhere in secret. Let your parents and guardian know your movement.
“Some cheap girls have made themselves available for shame that men these days don’t want to get married anymore. They call them ‘baby mama’. Some of them have three children for three fathers. Choose to be different”, Dr Peter advised.
Echoing a similar view, the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Education urged parents to always educate their children on the need to keep their bodies away from unwholesome things.
She commended the organisers of the programme, describing it as rewarding and educating.
The Permanent Secretary who was represented by Mrs Adeoye Oyetola in the ministry promised that the book “My Chastity, My Pride” would be recommended for the state government for use in secondary schools.
At the programme, prizes were given to eleven students – ten females and one male – who contributed to the book.