The Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has inaugurated a Community Age-Appropriate Sexuality Education Committee to address the dearth of sexuality education among different categories of young people.
Inaugurating the committee in Angwan Jukun Community, Wurukum area of Makurdi, Benue State on Thursday, AHF’s Advocacy and Marketing Manager, Steve Aborisade said the committee would be working with relevant stakeholders in the community to give sexual education to young people.
While lamenting the alarming rate of sexually transmitted disease among young people, Aborisade said it was for that reason that the CSE committee was inaugurated to bridge the information gap.
“Globally, we are faced with alarming rates of HIV, STIs and unplanned pregnancies among young people, which is indicative to a large extent of a gap in accurate knowledge, life skills and information.
“CSE is a fundamental part of the right to health and, when we support the availability and accessibility to appropriate health-related information, we demonstrate a respect for young people’s rights to be informed, healthy and live a life of dignity, which are critical for individual and community well-being.
“It is in this regard that we are setting up this committee, to help shape out a model of community intervention worthy of replication and capable of drawing investments in CSE, galvanize broader institutional support towards its implementation in schools and communities.
The AHF’S representative who disclosed that the committee has 12 months to complete it’s work commended all stakeholders present at the event and urged them to bring their individual wealth of experience on board so that young people can get the appropriate sexual education that would help them overcome every sexual challenges they might come across.
On his part, Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Benue State, Mike Gusa while commending AHF for the bold step taken in that direction explained the Ministry has always tried its best to ensure that cases involving child molestation and rape are settled in the court without partiality.
Gusa who was represented by a Director in the Ministry, Obande Idikwu lamented that prosecution of sexual abuse cases against young people are sometimes hampered because victim’s family either refuse to testify or the victim involved shy away from giving a vivid narration about how he or she was sexually molested by the accused in court.
He however promised to make sure that any case brought before the Ministry would be given special attention and justice would be served.
Gusa lauded AHF for including a member of the Ministry on the Committee and promised that the government make sure Sexual Education becomes a priority in most schools and Communities.
Also speaking, Traditional ruler of Angwan-Jukun Community, Chief Tanko Omale appreciated AHF for bringing such initiative to his Community and promised to support the committee to ensure it succeeds in his domain.
The monarch maintained that the Jukun community had experienced so much difficulties especially in the area of counselling the younger generation against indulging in social vices and other forms of atrocities, the monarch.
He however pleaded with the Committee to carry out the assignment given to them diligently and promised work with them anytime they need him.
Chief Omale who disclosed that he usually disguises as an ordinary citizen and go out most nights to see what happens in the neighbourhood and at times what he sees is very disturbing, stated that the coming of AHF to his community was an answer to his prayer.
Other stakeholders who spoke at the event including Anna Okoh from Ministry of Women Affairs, Ogbole Bernard from National Human Rights Commission, Udanyi Martins from BENSACA, Ozobulu Tochukwu from Lawyers Alert and Favour Adah-Paul, Executive Director of Tivid Orphanage home among others, stressed the need for all hands to be on deck to ensure the success of the program in the community.
The stakeholders who shared their various experiences all blamed the society for mostly trying to conceal cases of Sexual molestation, cautioned parents especially mothers who are in the habit of giving their daughters herbs to take to abort pregnancies to desist from such acts as according to them, it could damage the womb.