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High Rate Of Teenage Pregnancy In Nigeria

Teenage pregnancy is a canker-worm that has over the years grown extensively through social vices such as rape, incest e.t.c.

Teenage pregnancy which has as its consequence, a consistently increasing population for a country, therefore places a burden on the family, the government and the society at large.

For instance, it brings forth the often taunted ‘illegitimate child’ who is often denied quality education and other social opportunities as against his counterpart, who is bequetted the family’s inheritance.

Consequently, it places upon him/her the status of a social nuisance. This has therefore posed very serious issues towards national development and economic progress till today.

Delamount (1980), said that a pregnancy out of wedlock is abnormal and undesirable. The desire to have a baby by an unmarried mother is selfish and needs explanation to why she should.

Hoftman (1997), also observes that unmarried mothers have fewer friends; belong to fewer organisations and participate in fewer recreational activities than their married counterpart.

He maintained that the girls in question are looked down because they have made themselves social misfits. There is then obvious need for a proper understanding of what pregnancy and premarital pregnancy denotes.

The term pregnancy naturally connotes good tidings and fortune in all universe: however, that is only when it is applied in a rightful way. Thus, when a married woman becomes pregnant, both the woman and her relations and indeed the entire society rejoices greatly.

It is a most deserving, and rewarding occurance, a symbol of future happiness, better days, and practically the reward for consummation in a legitimate marriage.

Furthermore, it is ethically sanctioned by Christians as the Holy Book, the Bible, enunciates in Genesis; “God created man in his own image, male and female He created them.
And God blessed them, and he said to them, “Go ye into the world be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it. (Refer to Genesis 1: 27, 28).

However, when the word “premarital comes before pregnancy” it assumably becomes a misfortune, an unreconcilable insult, an undesirable evil; usually not welcomed by the family, the community and even the entire society.

In light of this, premarital pregnancy is an illegal pregnancy happening before marriage (in this study, premarital pregnancy is used to refer to pregnancy among girls between the ages of twelve and eighteen (12 – 18) (children).

At this point, it is worthy to note that the continued incrase in the rate of premarital pregnancy in Nigeria is traceable to post Nigerian civilwar due to the low socio-economic status of people as noted by Onakeko M.O. et al (1996); in African Journal of Medical Sciences.

The issue of premarital pregnacy has been extensively addressed in Medical Journals over time, as it has become part of our everyday events.

Specifically, many families, schools (especially secondary), villages, and cities have often witnessed cases of premarital pregnancies.

It is regrettable that these embarrassing occurrences happen at a period in our national life when the campaign for population control and against Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and other related sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhoea, syphilis among others is on the high.

Nowadays however, with increasing awareness and influence of foreign culture, a new trend of social morality seems to have taken place, as young girls increasingly tend to regard sexual dealings as their own private affairs and not any other persons’ business.

Youngsters see sexual intercourse as their right, with no one having the right to interfere with such personal matters, despite the fact that most of them are hardlv aware of the negative implications of early involvement in sexual acts.

Thus as these sexual excesses continue amidst the initial momentary pleasure and sexual fulfilment, young girls often find themselves trapped by the reality of all that is at stake; pregnancy and abandonment,etc.

From a closer perspective, one could summarily say that the youths of today are constantly bombarded with sexuality through advertisement, music, xrated movies and television to mention a few.

Many of the girls offer sex as a gift in other to attract and retain the attention of those of the opposite sex.

The result of a 1993 study of school age mothers in California; a state in the United States of America, revealed that two third of the girls had become pregnant, not by teenage boyfriends but by men over thirty (30) years of age.

Some studies indicate that many unmarried mothers are victims of statutory rape or even child abuse. Such widespread exploitation reveals how sick and depraived a modem society such as Nigeria has become.

Adejoke is currently a student of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo State.

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