By; JULIANA KATUNG, Kaduna
I am living in regrets today because I wanted to become a lawyer, which had been my dream since when I was in primary school and my parents
though not rich, were ready to support me. I was in SSS two in Day Secondary School Narayi when I became pregnant with my first child in
my father’s house and I gave birth to a baby boy who later died.
This is the story of a girl who is now 20 years old, name withheld who gave birth to her first child at the age of 18 while yet in secondary school.
According to her, when she became pregnant with her first child for a 19-year old boy who was learning mechanic work, her parents though
not happy, still supported and encouraged her with a warning for her not to repeat the act.
“But after my first child died, my parents started working on how to take me back to school. They called the father of my late child who I’m now living with as my husband and told him to move on by facing his future stressing that there was a lot ahead of us that we should work hard to achieve in the future,” she noted.
The 20 year old girl explained that she got back to school seven months after the incident and two weeks after the father of her child started calling her.
“My first visit to his house after the first
incident led to another pregnancy, my parents were angry with me and sent me packing to the boy’s house.
“My child is a year plus now and I’m living with the father of my child. He is a good person but we struggle to eat, I now understand why my parents were over protective of me, but it is too late, I will
forever live to regret my actions for the rest of my life”, she regretted.
This is one out of thousands of adolescents girls and boys out there who are in this situation especially in tge Northern part of Nigeria where
people seem to turn blind eyes to the reality of what is happening.
The period of transiting from childhood to adulthood requires special attention, hence the reason for Nigerians especially parents to adopt
the initiative of the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiatives (NURHI 2) projects geared towards providing these adolescents and youths with the right information on the need for
abstinence from sexual intercourse and the danger that comes with it when they indulge themselves in the act, as well as promote excellence in education and life planning among young people to enable them make informed decisions.
Also, there is need for health workers especially family planning service providers to start attending to adolescents or youths who come to their
facilities to obtain services, like their children by providing them with the right information in order to save their lives in the future.
This is the only way they can be able to open up on some issues they are passing through and they cannot easily share with their parents.
Young people go through different maturity stages which often affect them emotionally, physically and socially.
The NURHI project tagged Life Planning for Adolescents and Youths (LPAY) is focusing on helping young people with positive life changing
information that can help them make informed choices.
It is also geared towards encouraging parents especially in Northern region on the need to adopt the habit of giving the adolescents children the right information about sex.
The Youths Program officer of NURHI, kaduna state, Aisha Waziri while speaking recently during a sensitization of journalists on LPAY in Kaduna, said it is targeted on helping younger people not to make mistakes and even if they do, show them how to come out from it
According to her, 15 to 17 years of age are considered as minors. When they go to the facilities, they are being offered counseling on lives skills, such as the need to abstain from sexual intercourse until he or she is ripe and marries.
“Those around that age bracket that access the child birth spacing services are those that demand for it in the company of a guardian, while those that are married are free to access the services without guardians,” NURHI added.
Aisha who further grouped the adolescents and youths to be those between 15 to 24 years of age, said they need correct information, especially on health and sexual matters.
She said, 55 per cent of Nigeria’s population is under 20 years of age, while that of adolescents engaging in unprotected sex is 56 per cent female and 48 per cent male.