In Nigeria, teenage fornication is gradually becoming an issue especially because of its suspected consequence, teenage pregnancy. As of 2013, statistics by the National Population Commission showed that about 23 percent of adolescent women aged 15-19 years were already mothers or pregnant with their first child. While many are in search of a possible way out of the problem, an ongoing online discussion about child marriage suddenly went south when a random online user Kwankwasiyya (who use to be journalist at NTA and The Nation) blatantly took to twitter to suggest Child marriage as a tool to control teenage fornication.
Going by the dictionary meaning of fornication, which means sexual relations between opposite sex that are not married, a child married at the age of 15 or 16 can no longer fornicate, but what happens to the grave consequences of child marriage?
According to wikkipedia.com VVF is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder and the vagina that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault. Unfortunately, reports from oblongmedia.net shows that Nigeria has the highest number of VVF patients in the world with an alleged number of between 400,000 and 800,000 women living with this scourge. How did we get here?
The medical condition is often caused by delayed labor, female genital mutilation and penetration of a minor. The report from Oblong media shows that Northern Nigeria has the highest number of patients living with this condition and majority of them within the ages of 11 to 15 as their less developed sexual organs go through oversized penetration from their much older husbands. What was Kwankwasiyya thinking? Are journalist no longer critical thinkers?
In Part II of the 2003 Nigerian Child’s Right Act of the Nigerian constitution, states that a child has the right to Survival and development, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, right to parental care, protection and maintenance and freedom of thought, conscience and religion, but is this law obeyed when a 15 year old girl is betrothed to a 60 year old man?
Juxtaposing Kwankwasiyya tweet to the dangers inherent in child marriage, what more do you think can be done to strengthen existing sex education and STI awareness?