BY UGOCHUKWU EJINKEONYE
If anyone had told me a few years ago that a time will come in Nigeria when the authorities will approve the teaching of sexual immorality as a subject in junior and secondary schools, I would have thought that the person had lost his mind. But now, before our very eyes, it is happening, and I lack words to describe the shock among many Nigerians!
Not too long ago, I was shown the topics being treated under the subject called “Sexuality Education” or “Sex Education” which tender kids in both junior and secondary schools in Nigeria are now being forced to learn. Mere kids, some as young as ten or even nine, are put in the hands of teachers, who deploy every energy, talent and creativity to saturate their tender minds with every detail about sexual immorality and the use of contraceptives.
When I first raised alarm on this issue in my weekly column not too long ago, a concerned parent wrote me to say that the ‘Teacher’s Guide’ given to the Integrated Science teachers (who handle this subject) mandates them “to teach the children that religious teachings on issues like pre-marital sex, contraception, homosexuality, abortion and gender relations are mere opinions and myths! They are also to teach the students how to masturbate and use chemical contraceptives (designed for women in their 30s). The ‘Teachers Guide’ equally lays a big emphasis on values clarification; this empowers teenage children to decide which moral values to choose since the ones parents teach them at home are mere options.”
It is difficult to imagine that anyone outside a mental home could have the mind to design such a subject even for the children of his worst enemy! In my view, this clearly qualifies as child abuse, which, sadly, has been endorsed by the authorities. I have reasons to suspect that what some of the teachers would be giving out would be targeted more at titillating their tender victims than educating them! I can imagine how easy it would now become for a teacher who has been targeting a female student to use his creative elaboration of this subject, to get the girl so overwhelmed she would become easy meat.
I am told that there are two main reasons for the introduction of this subject in our schools. One is to empower school children with adequate knowledge about their bodies and how to “safely” indulge in pre-marital sex without falling victims to teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. The second reason is to demystify fornication, give it a positive image, as something to be cherished and enjoyed without any fear, as long as it is done “safely” and consensually. The belief is that with the age-long “superstition” built around sexual immorality which ‘stigmatizes’ it as an evil and sinful activity, some kids tend to go into it with fear and dread, and so develop psychological problems arising from the guilt they feel afterwards.
But these reasons are simply hollow and unconvincing. They are built on the assumption that in the present age, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for unmarried people to abstain from pre-marital sex. Instead of emboldening kids to behave like dogs, why not teach them to value their bodies and maintain their self-esteem by abstaining from immorality as our own parents had taught us? The difference between human beings and animals is the ability to reason and determine the consequences of actions, and then exercise discretion and self-control. Why not tell a kid the consequences of an action and use that to dissuade him from indulging in it?
Looking at the earnestness with which this policy is being pursued despite oppositions to it, one is forced to suspect that there may also be a commercial angle to it. Are we sure that substantial profit is not accruing to the initiators of this programme and their collaborators in government from the sales of the several books being written and printed on the subject? Support may equally be coming from the manufacturers of contraceptives who certainly see in this a lucrative venture to promote and sustain.
Now, how far has this subject helped in reducing teenage pregnancies and STDs in the Western nations where it has been taught, assimilated and practiced for many years now? It is a fact that these teachings have, for instance, been introduced in both the United States and Britain for many years now, but as I write now, I have before me, a BBC report saying that Britain has the highest record of teenage pregnancy in the whole of Western Europe. Also, another report has it that the United States has the highest number of teenage pregnancies in the entire Western world. Again, in the United States, it is reported that new infections of HIV are still on the increase.
That naturally leads us to the contentious issue of “safe sex.” So, what is all this fetish about “safe sex” and how “safe” can sex actually be? The truth is that a lot of studies and findings have effectively punctured the dubious confidence built over the years on condom-use. We know that with an effective magnifying lens, it is easy to see that several objects, especially rubber and plastics, have tiny holes through which very minute micro organisms could pass. I read somewhere recently that “HIV virus is only 0.1 micron in size while the naturally occurring holes in a latex condom is of the order 5 to 50 microns in diameter.” So where then is the “protection” we have heard so much about if the deadly virus can indeed pass through the wall of a condom? Is this not why we have often heard reports of people contracting HIV even though they had practiced the so-called “protected sex”? This is the time to rethink all this stuff behind which some fellows have hidden to pollute the minds of kids with ruinous teachings.
Fortunately, we have one precaution that does not fail. And that is the good old abstinence, which has been proven and tested to be the only reliable protection against deadly STDs and teenage pregnancies? We must hasten to realize that what is at stake here is human life, and should not be toyed with, for whatever reasons. It is becoming increasingly difficult to understand this desperation to create an immoral and ungodly society by misleading the youths? Now, if not for reasons that are less than noble and wholesome, why would Nigeria be eager to import a policy that is failing even in more advanced nations?
Okay, here is another point to ponder: HIV is 500 times smaller than spermatozoa, yet research has established that spermatozoa are able to sometimes pass through the wall of a latex condom to cause conception. Now, if this is the case, are we not by this subject leading our youths through the minefield? The example cited earlier of the worrisome rise in fresh infections of HIV in a place like the US where years of successful sex-education has achieved overwhelming attitudinal change in favour of condom-use should serve to buttress this point.
Now, with this policy in place and flourishing, where is this nation really heading to? What is the use living, if one must live like a dog?
I would, therefore, want to advise the school boy or girl reading this piece to please pause awhile and ask himself or herself what the initiators of this policy hope to achieve in his of her life by giving him or her these teachings? Such a youth should wonder how they still expect him to concentrate on his studies after they have saturated his mind with filthy teachings that only fill his mind with distractive lusts. Now, if his instructors (who are mostly parents) are encouraging him to freely indulge in sexual immorality at this early stage of his life, what type of future leader do they expect him to become? After “empowering” him to go on the rampage, wouldn’t they have succeeded in giving him a disease deadlier than even the AIDS they are presuming to save him from – which is the destruction of his moral fibre? What is the guarantee that he would be able to build a healthy family afterwards, by shunning the promiscuity that this subject is surely preparing him for, and which, as we all know, results in the proliferation of broken homes which has become the nightmare of the Western world?
It is instructive that The Guardian on Sunday, July 18, 1999, carried a report that a cross section of American college (mostly female) students are regretting the limitless freedom their parents had allowed them and have resolved to devote themselves to pursue a “no-sex” campaign. But in Nigeria in 2013, sexual immorality has been deregulated and democratized.
Right now, there appears to be some serious regret soaking the consciousness of many in the Western world, because of the moral wreck many children have become. But they are now helpless, because, it seems to have become too late, and things have gone out of hand. They now wish they never gave a perverted interpretation to freedom at some point in their history.
But poor Nigerians, we are always distinguished by our peculiar eagerness to always gobble up everything Western, no matter how rotten or destructive. Go to the people in Nollywood, and ask them why they are going so wild and immoral and the answer you will get is: That is how they do it in Hollywood. See what I mean?
But concerned Nigerian parents cannot afford to be intimidated and just watch helplessly as some fellows whose intentions are less than noble go all out to ruin their kids for them. And so, they should be able to ask: To what extent should the government interfere in people’s lives and families? Where does the government derive the authority to invade somebody’s home with ungodly teachings and inflict them on the person’s kids, just because he gave his kid to the government to educate in their schools? Shouldn’t an open and clear expression of disaffection towards this gross violation by stakeholders lead to its reappraisal and possible removal from the school curriculum?
Again, and very importantly too; most people have strongly accepted and hold very dear to their hearts the teachings they have received from the religious faith of their choice (which we as civilized people must respect) that sexual immorality which is a grievous sin against God attracts eternal damnation; and they are eager to ensure that both themselves and their kids escape this terrible doom; how then can we accommodate and respect this their belief (which is sacred to them) in this current effort to teach and encourage their children to freely indulge in fornication? Should we just dismiss and callously tear down a belief they hold so sacred and dear, and with which they have determined to successfully raise their children to become morally healthy kids? As if it does not matter?
It is time to rethink this policy and remove it from the school curriculum since it denies a large a number of people the option of choice. Many parents are not even aware that such a teaching is being generously forced down the throats of their precious children, thereby destroying all they have taught them at home.
Certainly, there are centres where some NGOs have established to propagate these pro-pre-marital sex teachings. Interested parents can take their children to those centres, while the objecting parents are spared the trauma of watching their kids being subjected to a menu they firmly believe is terribly unhealthy and ruinous. Their right to dissent must be respected.