• News - South West - Oyo
  • Updated: May 21, 2024

Abortion, suicide not options — Child rights advocate to pregnant teens

Abortion, suicide not options — Child rights advocate to p

A Child Rights Advocate, Ambassador Tolu Taiwo has urged teenage pregnant girls not to have abortions and suicide as options, saying they can still fulfil their purpose in life.

Taiwo made the remark in Ibadan at the inauguration of her foundation called “Twenty-One Five Child Foundation.  She also urged teenage pregnant girls to be outspoken and courageous despite all odds.

“They should not abandon their babies or be despair, people like us are here to support them even if they want to take legal action.

“Parents and religious leaders should not give up on them; they can still fulfil destiny. Religious leaders should not judge and throw them away but should lend a hand and join to rehabilitate them,” she said.

According to Taiwo, TIFF is a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing support for pregnant teenage girls and combating sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria.

In line with the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day- “Inspire Inclusion”, she said the organisation’s vision was to alleviate the sufferings, physical and mental, often meted out on teenage pregnant girls in society.

According to her, the organisation also aims to pragmatically work toward ensuring a drastic reduction of such cases through education and stakeholder engagement.

“Between 2023 when we started and now, we have reached out to no fewer than 700 girls, hospitals and 50 pregnant teenage girls.

“I know their plights because I was once like them; pregnant at 18, abandoned by all and passed through hell, but today the launch of this foundation is a product of the incident.

“Today, the baby is 22 and making it. He was born on May 21 and that prompted the naming of this foundation. It was my first time of sex under the influence of alcohol without me knowing.

“I was told to abort the baby, passed through hell and was stigmatised but I never gave up, the incident rather became a joy to many now,” she said.

“In Nigeria, teenage pregnancy and sexual violence are pervasive issues that threaten the health, well-being, and future prospects of countless young girls.

“According to the National Population Commission (NPC), about 400,000 unplanned births are recorded in Nigeria annually. Half of these unwanted births are from young girls aged 15 -19.

“According to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, between 2020 – 2023, Nigeria recorded a total reported 27,698 cases of gender-based violence. 1,145 of these cases were described as fatal.

“These alarming figures underscore the urgent need for action to address the root causes of these problems and provide support and resources to those who need it most,” she said.

“During the course of our outreaches on sex education, menstrual hygiene and general well-being, we have come to realise that the level of decadence and bad morals has eaten deep into our young people.

“As a people, we have a lot of work to do if we will indeed raise the generation that will make a difference.

“As we embark on this journey, I urge each and every one of you to join us in our mission to create a safer, more inclusive society for all.

“Whether you are a government official, a community leader, a healthcare provider, a student, or a concerned citizen, there is a role for you to play in this important work.

“Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can build a future where every young girl and boy has the opportunity to thrive, free from violence, discrimination, and stigma,” Taiwo said.

A Legal practitioner, Omotola Olugbodi remarked that there was a correlation between education and teenage pregnancy, saying the Child Rights Act criminalises the failure of parents to send a child to school.

“Parents who fail to provide for their children leave them at the mercy of those who will take advantage of them.

“A child has right to health, education, parental care, provision and maintenance; if you notice any child that is being maltreated, please report to appropriate bodies,” Olugbodi said.

One of the beneficiaries of the T1FF, Opeyemi Olalekan, appreciated and prayed for Taiwo for the generous support she and others had received from the foundation. 

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