By Vivian Ihechu
Lagos – The National Population Commission (NPopC) on Thursday decried the early sex by Nigerian adolescents, saying it had grave implications.
Ms Abimbola Salu-Hundeyin, Hon. Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission, made the disclosure at an Intergenerational Dialogue to mark the 2018 World Population Day in Lagos.
The event which was organised by the NPopC in conjunction with the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative 11 had its theme as: “Family Planning is a Human Right.”
Salu-Hundeyin said: “According to the last NDHS in 2014, majority of our girls become sexually active at the age of 15 years while the boys get involved at 18 years.
“When they get sexually involved at such a very young age, especially for the girls, it has dire consequences.’’
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Salu-Hundeyin said: “This affects a lot of things.
“Education is truncated, she drops out of school and a whole lot of things change; she cannot get the type of future she desires, she is not empowered and she is psychologically broken.
“So, we advocate that these young people have access to the right information, as well as options to take if they insist on sex.
“This enables them make informed decisions on whether to still get involved sexually or not.’’
The NPopC commissioner said the commission was doing a lot to get everyone involved to address the situation, especially by getting people to accept family planning.
“We also try to talk to parents because sometimes we have some cultural beliefs that do not help family planning.
“We dissuade them and let them see what the government is doing to bring reproductive health facilities closer to people.
“We also ask state governments to establish more reproductive health facilities and centres so that people can have access to them.
“Family Planning should be readily accessible to anybody who wants it because 5o years ago in Tehran, it was declared by the United Nation as a right, though it was stressed that it must be exercised responsibly.
“This is because if you have more than you can train, you are bringing more vices to the community and country than the advantages the child should give to us,” Salu-Hundeyin said.
Also, Mrs Rashidat Umar, Youth Development Officer, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Lagos State, said young people should have access to information and services.
According to her, they need to know the consequences and implications of engaging in early sex and the need to wait until they are physiological and emotionally ready for it.
Mr Akin Jimoh, Programme Director, Development Communications Network (DevComs) told NAN that family planning had a lot of linkages.
“Family planning goes beyond pills, injectibles and condoms; it is the core of our development; it has linkage to population, linkage to maternal health and linkage to child health.
“Parents need to reflect, they need to talk to their children because sexuality actually starts at a young age.
“The children are curious; they want to know things and changes about their bodies and they must be given the right information to prevent mistakes and being victims,’’ Jimoh said.
NAN reports that participants included the NPoPC, Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Lagos State Ministry of Health, InterFaith Groups, Traditional Heads and Youths.