Stand To End Rape (STER), an NGO, on Sunday sensitised over 50 teenage boys and girls at Bogije Community in Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State on prevention of sexual violence and early pregnancy.
STER Executive Director, Ayodeji Osowobi, told participants at Bogije Primary Health Centre that the campaign woud also help parents and community leaders in protecting the girls against early pregnancy so as not to jeopardise their future.
“To enhance their knowledge on dangers of having unprotected sex which leads to unwanted pregnancy,stigma and unsafe abortion.
“We decided to come to this community because we have many records of teenage pregnancy between 12 and 15 years old in this community.
“We discovered that most of them are sexually active because they do not have information on sexual prevention,” Osowobi said.
She said that teenagers needed right education and information about sexual and reproductive health to make right decisions.
“That is the main reason why we visit different local governments on how the teenagers can protect themselves from sexual violence and teenage pregnancy.
“We need government intervention and support by creating more awareness and public enlightenment on sexual violence and teenage pregnancy.
“This is because information and education are necessary to reduce the risk of abortion and other sexual and reproductive health problems that occur among teenagers,” Osowobi said.
She urged both federal and state governments to improve judicial systems in order to fast track all cases in court , especially rape cases.
Mr Edosa Oviawe, spokesman of IPAS Nigeria, an NGO, said that causes of teenage pregnancy were lack of access to sexual and reproductive health education and services.
“Girls who have received low amount of education are five times more likely to become a mother than those with higher levels of education.
“According to National Health Service (NHS), 7.3 million girls become pregnant before the age of 18 each year worldwide.
“We have more numbers of teenage pregnancy nowadays because most of them are ignorance.
“Teenage pregnancy increased when girls are denied the right to make decisions about their sexual health and well-being.
“Child marriage is a key factor of teenage pregnancy; approximately 90 per cent of births by teenage mothers in developing countries occur within marriage,” Oviawe said.
He called on government to introduce comprehensive sexual education to schools curriculum.
“Every sexual education you give to teenagers will reduce the number of teenage pregnancy.
“Parents should also be free with their children by educating them on abstinence from any sexual activities,” he said.
Chief Sharafa Musudiku,the traditional ruler of Bogije, thanked the organisers for the sensitization campaign against teenage pregnancy in his community
Musudiku advised that parents should allow their female children attain maturity and better education before given them in marriage.
Newsmen report that STER is a youth-led organisation founded in 2014 to end all forms of sexual violence and abuse through education and advocacy.
STER offers free medical, legal and psychological services and empowers every victims.