The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has decried the activities of some online projects and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who it said are exposing Nigerian teenage girls to immoralities. It particularly called out Adolescent 360 and 9ja Girls as examples of such projects.
The Islamic group, in a statement made available to DAILY POST on Tuesday, as signed by Director Ishaq Akintola, urged the Federal government to investigate the activities of these online projects and the extent to which Society for Family Health (SFH) is involved in them.
MURIC lament that Nigerians were keeping mum in the face of the corruption of the younger generation.
The statement read: “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 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’
“In essence, our teenage girls are being ‘emboldened’ to make dangerous sexual moves and to have premarital sex as underage 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 underage 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 emphasize sexual discipline.”
By Gwendoly Njoku