PROTECTING NIGERIAN CHILDREN

By Sonnie Ekwowusi

What is happening to us in this country? Why should anybody in his right senses target the Nigerian young for destruction? I can’t believe what they are doing to the Nigerian young. While we are still lamenting that Chibok girls have not been released and that many children are victims of Boko Haram senseless murder, some people are meeting in Abuja and corrupting children. We are losing our sense of public shame in this country, and, this, for me, is a big tragedy. Last week the so-called 3rd Nigeria “family planning” Conference was staged at the Sheraton Hotels, Abuja. From all intents and purposes, the Conference was supposed to be a Conference on family planning but the Conference ended being a very big public scandal: it ended up being a Conference to assist Nigerian children and Nigerian minors to have access to all sizes of condoms, and contraceptives and literature on permanent sterilization Vasectomy, deprovera female sterilization (Tubal Ligation), injectable contraceptives, IUCD, postinor2,Lo-femenal, norplant, suction tubes etc.

At the Youth pre-conference sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) which took place a day to the Conference, a video animation was shown to young Nigerians on how to effectively practise “safe-sex” using the condoms and other contraceptives. The young people also watched another video animation of other young people sharing knowledge and experience on issues related to condom use and contraceptive use. The UNFPA created a social media campaign code-named “No Hoodie No Honey” posted on twitter aimed at supplying condoms and contraceptives to young Nigerians including Nigerian minors. The UNFPA was out to coerce young people into believing that “safe-sex” is their right and therefore they shouldn’t be ashamed to practice “safe sex” even if the different cultures and religions teach otherwise. For example, one of the inscriptions on the No Hoodie No Honey roll up stand posted on twitter reads: “Lets push for easy access to the female condom and that a woman may buy condoms without being shamed”

First: this advert is tainted by fraud and deception. The advert that condom protects its user against infections and against HIV is a fraudulent advert. Scientifically, no condom is safe proof. Every condom has naturally-occurring holes that put its user in serious jeopardy. Because condoms are not safe, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has enacted a law that every condom advertised in Nigeria must carry the following Health Risk Warning Clause: “Be warned: condom is not 100 per cent safe: total abstinence or faithfulness is the best option”. The “Gold Circle” condom carelessly and indiscriminately used in Nigeria has been banned in Ghana. On 20th July 2005, Ghana’s Food and Drugs Board (FDB) issued what it called “Consumer Alert on “Gold Circle” Brand of condoms to the effect that the Gold circle condoms do not have adequate physical strength and therefore likely to break during use. Therefore the FDB directed all Ghanaian pharmacies, licensed chemical shops and other outlets that had stocks of “Gold circle” brand of condoms to remove them from their shelves and return them to their sources of supply. I don’t know when the “Gold Circle” condom would be banned in Nigeria.

But assuming condom were effective, condom-use promotes sexual promiscuity and pre-marital pregnancy because of the false sense of security it generates in users. And sexual promiscuity, by definition, spreads sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV.

In any case, condom “safe-sex” is not the first priority of the average young Nigerian in the street: the first priority of the average young Nigerian is to settle down in life-to secure a good job, earn a good salary, have a roof over his or her head and marry a good wife or a good husband later. If the organisers of the Abuja conference were really and truly interested in helping the Nigerian young, why didn’t they organise a job-creation conference or a skill-acquisition Conference or farming Conference to boost food production instead of  a condom Conference?. Is condom food that young Nigerians must eat to stay alive?

More importantly, most contraceptives are deadly. A Study that has been carried out have shown that a woman who takes birth control pills before her first child is born has at least 40% of increased risk of developing breast cancer and that a woman who has taken the pill for four or more times prior to the birth of her first child has a 72% risk factor in developing breast cancer. In October 2011, the New York Times published an article entitled Contraceptive Used in Africa May Double Risk of H.I.V. This article was based on a cohort study by prestigious medical Research journal The Lancet that clearly stated that “the risk of HIV-1 acquisition doubled with the use of hormonal contraception especially the injectable methods.” In addition to the HIV-related effects of this product, there is also the doubled risk of breast cancer demonstrated by various studies like the extensive research done by the Fred Hutchingson Cancer Research centre, Seattle and published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in February 2012, with the research team stating clearly after their studies : “We found that recent DMPA (Depo-Medroxyprogesterone acetate a.k.a Depo-Provera) use for 12 months or longer was associated with a 2.2-fold increased risk of invasive breast cancer.”

It is sad that most foreign NGOs and agencies are coming to Nigeria to exploit our children to their own gain. The UNFPA, for example, has become notorious for distributing condoms and contraceptives among Nigerian teens. And the government appears to have shut its eyes to this atrocity. This cannot continue. Now is the time to stand up and protect our children if we want them to have a stake in bright future.

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