Demography: Nigerian Governors express concern over state of adolescent girls

Nigerian Governors have expressed deep concern of the state of adolescent girls in Nigeria and have made commitment to change the situation through deliberate policies.

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This followed a presentation made by the Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Nasir Isa Kwara at Thursday’s meeting of the National Economic Council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Governor of Nassarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, who briefed the media after the meeting, said that data presented by Kwara to the Council “is very alarming.

According to Sule, figures presented to the NEC meeting by the NPC showed that “fertility is at 106 births to every 1000 girls aged between 15 and 19 and 43% of our girls marry before the age of 18.

“This is actually a very disturbing situation; 19% of teenage girls have commenced child bearing among these concerns we have; 27% are in the rural areas while 8% are in the urban areas.

“The north west records 29% against 6% in the Southwest, while Bauchi State has the highest at 34-41%.

Sule also said that the NPC report showed that adolescent girls contribute to the prevailing high maternal death in Nigeria, adding that it is imperative to for governments at all levels in Nigeria to look at it.

He said that the situation has constrained Nigeria from reaping any demographic dividends for its adolescent population.

Governor Sule said that the NPC report also recommended measures that should be adopted to change the situation.

He said that these measures include the enforcement of free and compulsory education for all girls in Nigeria.

“At least a completion of senior school in all the 36 states and the FCT will go a long way.

“Part of the way we can do is by encouraging some kind of conditional cash transfers to ensure that girls stay in school.

Safe schools.

The governor said that the report also recommended that security must be provided at schools to protect adolescent girls.

“Security has already been considered as part of the concerns in the country.

So, we have to ensure that whatever these students need in the schools are available such as security, lavatories and the rest of that.

“Then we also have to look at the area of empowerment which will increase investments in empowering the women especially these little girls in school, working with community and religious leaders in addressing the various social needs.

“Again, we should look at the area of expanding access to essential primary healthcare services so that they would be able to address their concerns.

“And very important is for states in the north to address this early marriage issue mostly through legislation and some kind of implementation and enforcement to do that.

Covid-19, other diseases
The meeting of the NEC on Thursday also deliberated on the issue of healthcare focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and some endemic diseases in the country.

This followed presentation made by the Director-General of National Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) who informed NEC that as at date, Nigeria has tested over 251,000 persons, detected 23,000 active cases and reported 3,116 deaths resulting from COVID-19 in Nigeria.

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State reported on this.

He said that the NCDC report emphasized “that even though the evidence from the last couple of days or weeks may seem to indicate a slight decline in the outbreak of COVID-19, the evidence is still too early for us to categorically say that the Omicron variant is going down and cautioned that people should still keep to pharmaceutical interventions and more importantly that citizens should be encouraged to get vaccinated.

Obaseki said that the NCDC also reported on the outbreak of Lassa fever that has spread beyond the endemic states of Edo, Ebonyi into other areas like Bauchi and Oyo.

“What is worrisome about this outbreak is that we now see cases of health personnel who had died as a result of Lassa fever infections.

“It is an area that is worrisome and the health authorities are emphasising that we should take caution; make sure that we have clean environments and we should activate Lassa fever testing laboratories.

According to Obaseki, the NCDC reported on outbreak of cholera across the country, which is spreading at very worrisome rate.

He said that the NCDC advised that states and other relevant authorities should take the necessary precautions in improving sanitation standards particularly water supply to stem the spread of cholera in the country.

Demography: Nigerian Governors express concern over state of adolescent girls

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