Oyo State Team Leader, Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), Mrs Stella Akinso called for increased s$xuality education of youths and adolescents, saying so many youths now start having s$x at age eight in Nigeria.
Mrs Akinso who made the call at the opening of a two-day Advocacy Network of Nigeria strategic review and Succession planning workshop in Ibadan, said increasingly youths and adolescents are becoming s$xually active and with enormous consequences.
According to her, young people are increasing faced with s3xual violence, intimate s3xual relations and family incest, adding that about 65 per cent of all abortion cases in Nigeria now occur in young people.
She said that meeting the s$xuality and reproductive health needs of young people was important for Nigeria to achieve the Sustainable Development goals.
Mrs Akinso declared that NURHI was taken up the challenge of empowering young persons to be able to determine whether they want to have s$x or abstain from it and if they want to have s$x be well informed on how to have a safe s$x.
“The intervention just started based on end line research on our NURHI phase 1 project that although, we are dealing with women of reproductive age group, we had excluded young people in this group.”
Mrs Sola Fanimokun, NURHI’s youth programme officer, noting that 55 per cent of Nigeria’s population were less than 20 years, declared that 48 per cent of males and 56 per cent females in this age range are s$xually active.
She decried parents not providing s$xuality education to their children and as well as dearth in youth friendly health centres, stressing that myths on s3xuality still abound among youths.
According to Mrs Fanimokun, lack of reproductive and family planning information is a major problem of youths in Oyo State, adding that more youths are been influenced into s$x by their peers, parents, religious leaders and media.
She said parents and religious leaders’ capacity must be trained on how to talk to youths on s3xuality and their health, adding “we are not saying that youths should be having s$x, but they need to focus on helping them to understand their s3xuality and how to cope.”