22nd July, 2019
STOP EXPOSING TEENAGE GIRLS TO IMMORALITY
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has raised the alarm over the activities of some online projects and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are exposing Nigerian teenage girls to immoralities. The Islamic human rights organization cited Adolescent 360 and 9ja Girls as examples of such projects.
This was contained in a press statement issued by the Director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019.
“Our young ones are being corrupted but Nigerians are silent over this. What will become of a nation whose mothers of tomorrow are being actively encouraged to think little of general promiscuity and marital infidelity?
“MURIC wishes to alert parents to the danger posed by these online projects which, ostensibly, are for economic empowerment of teenage girls but they are actually exposing the girls to corruption. Adolescent 360 is executed as 9ja Girls for unmarried girls in Southern Nigeria and as Matasa Matan Arewa (MMA) in Northern Nigeria for married adolescent girls.
“Under the guise of giving vocational training to teenage girls, sex and sexuality are actively encouraged. According to the website of Adolescent 360 (https://www.psi.org/special-project/adolescents-360/) the project ‘aims to increase voluntary, modern contraceptive use and reduce unintended pregnancy among adolescent girls between the ages of 15 and 19 in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania’. Adolescent 360 is a baby of an international NGO, Population Services International (IPS)
“As for the 9ja Girls project, its website says, ‘When a girl walks into a 9ja Girls space, she feels emboldened. Inside, amidst affirming notes from girls, glittery walls, and caring health workers, she can learn a new trade, have an honest Q&A about her body and feelings, and even take up a contraceptive method—all of this discreetly and on her terms’ (https://www.ideo.org/project/9ja-girls).
“In essence, our teenage girls are being ‘emboldened’ to make dangerous sexual moves and to have premarital sex as underaged girls under the guise of vocational training. Parents are deceived into releasing their teenage girls thinking that such girls are going for some training that will add value to their lives. Unknown to such parents, their underaged daughters are being initiated into the world of sexual recklessness. It is a betrayal of trust. It is atrocious, outrageous and insidious.
“We call the attention of the Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health to this ugly phenomenon. In particular, we remind the Ministry of Education that the Society for Family Health (SFH) brought the Zip Up project for 15 to 19-year olds around 2004 ostensibly to promote abstinence. It was on the basis of the Zip Up project that the Ministry later decided to partner with SFH.
“But is the Ministry of Education aware that the same SFH is involved in Adolescent 360 whose project categorically contradicts abstinence? Is this not the hidden message in the nomenclature of the project? Are Nigerian teenage girls not being turned around 360 degrees? Is Adolescent 360 a shortened form of Adolescent 360 Turn-Around? MURIC is just thinking aloud and we hope Nigerian parents are not fast asleep.
“Also, does the Minister of Health know that the Community Health Workers approved to now insert IUCD in areas where nurses are insufficient are now doing it to these teenagers who are meant to abstain? Have we totally lost our family values? When did premarital sex cease from being an anomaly in African culture? Should 15 to 19-year olds be allowed to make such important decisions like being sexually active or using contraceptives? .
“We must act fast. The activities of these groups are not restricted to online alone. Since its launch, 9ja Girls project has opened thirteen (13) sites across nine (9) states, serving 12,438 girls with modern contraception from January through August 2018. It is expected that by the year 2020, this projection will reach 69,000. It is the bomb!
“MURIC appeals to the National Assembly to investigate the activities of these online projects and the extent to which SFH is involved. No serious nation will leave the fate of its teenage girls in the hands of alien groups whose values and norms stand in contra-distinction to her own. The Nigerian society is sitting on a keg of gunpowder as long as the authorities fail to do the needful in matters like this. It is a disaster waiting to happen.
“As we draw the curtain, we appeal to Nigerian teenage girls to reject dangerous and misleading online projects and groups. We affirm that abstinence is possible. We warn teenagers not to allow morally bankrupt individuals and groups to mislead them. We charge parents to rise to their duties in loco parentis. In particular, parents and guardians should get closer to their children and wards and continually emphasise sexual discipline”.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)