Need for serious measures against alarming rate of teenage “Unwanted Pregnancies” in Ohafia community

by Amos Kalu
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By Dave Uma

Does anyone else wonder, just like I often do, how frequently young, and teenage girls from Amaekpu, and other Ohafia Communities get pregnant, and have children out of wedlock? Getting pregnant has become so cheap that no one bats an eyelid, anymore. The Community itself is completely overwhelmed.

Perhaps, you should take a stroll to Ime-Ogo. At Okpu Omama Nde Uyo, you’ll find teenage girls clutching, cuddling, or carrying their babies behind their backs while trying to eke out a living. They sell assorted items most of which are worth little or nothing in monetary terms.

DAVE UMA

Most of these young women are school dropouts after getting pregnant. Annoyingly, Okada & Keke riders, Artisans & Loafers are mostly responsible for such pregnancies. Sometimes, they deny responsibility accusing the young women of keeping multiple partners. For those who accept responsibilities do so to add to the number of children they already have in other Ohafia Communities. To them, it’s more of the measures of their virility & masculinity, rather than acceptance of responsibility to train such unfortunate children.

In the past, any young woman who got pregnant out of wedlock had Nde-Inyom & nde Ikpirikpe to contend with.  Such occurrence was very rare in the past when moral upbringing was at its peak.

One begins to wonder if Nde ikpirikpe is still in firm control of the situation in Amaekpu.  Do they still mobilize Nde-Inyom for ‘Ikpa m’bogo’? It’s been a long while since Ikpa  M’bogo took place. Are such measures no longer applicable, or have the rules against those who conscientiously indulge in moral ineptitude been repealed?

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What is presently playing out in our community about the reckless lifestyle of our teenage girls is increasingly disturbing, and painfully worrisome. It can aptly be described as ”stranger than fiction”

In life, we cannot avoid making mistakes. It is human to make mistakes, because of our inadequacies. But there are mistakes that have dire consequences. Getting pregnant out of wedlock without plans on how to take care of the unborn child is totally irresponsible & risky, especially in a closed community like ours, where everyone literally knows one another as relations, friends, and very close family members. It is a stigma that never ever goes away.

Until recently, any young man living in the city, ready to get married usually visited home to choose a wife, because our women were well behaved, brimming with moral rectitude. Nowadays, young women of marriageable age brackets living in rural areas are more streetwise than those in the Cities. Greed has made them cheap.

In a certain family, all four female children had children outside of marriage. One wonders, if there is a streak of madness in such a family. Until now, they have all remained happily unmarried, and strangely unworried.

What some parents get from their children nowadays is humiliation & disgrace as compensation for bringing them into the world, and raising them up. Many of these wayward children fail to realize on time that yielding to parental advice inculcates self-discipline.

However, some parents receive a large chunk of the blame for negligence in parental training. Some of these women in the village who have children outside marriage find it difficult to bring up such children with wholesome lifestyles. A case of one not giving what she doesn’t have. It should be noted that raising children is not the sole responsibility of biological parents, especially in rural settings. The entire community is involved.

Finally, it is high time the community took stringent measures rather than adopting an attitude of a ”strange still small silence”

Nde-Inyom & all the stakeholders in Amaekpu projects and other Ohafia communities should live up to their responsibilities by bending backward to restore ” the moral chastity & sanity to restore sanctity” that Amaekpu; albeit, Ohafia, was known for in the not-too-distant past.

@daveuma.

 June 2023.

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