A 21-year-old girl died in the most horrible of ways, alone and in silence. She was a student of the Federal College of Education in Pankshin, Plateau and died surrounded by fellow students in whom she couldn’t have confided. Her neighbours only discovered she was dead because she hadn’t left her room in 24 hours on a school day and checked to find out. She was rushed to a hospital where doctors confirmed she had had a botched abortion.
Inspector Tyopev Terna, Public Relations Officer for the Plateau state command commenting on the girl’s death said, the police command had made no arrests, only that the police was interested in finding out who was responsible for the girl’s pregnancy, but not the person who performed the botched abortion that killed her.
When the matter was reported to Istifanus Kyakmut, Public Relation Officer of the college, this was the statement Kyakmut offered, “It is sad and unfortunate,”; when asked what he wanted to say to other students, he said, “We have always told the students to avoid anything that could endanger their lives or affect their studies. We have always told them to face their studies and avoid distractions.”
The girl’s name was Nenfort Ezekiel, and she died needlessly.
And she won’t be the last girl to die if we continue to police the sexualities of young people without ever providing them any actual sexual health education or the tools to adequately equip themselves to take care of their sexual health.
Young people will have sex, pre-marital sex is not a crime in the constitution. We continue to make access to contraceptives and condoms a religious taboo and pretend that the result of that will not be sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Then we restrict access to abortions and vilify families who adopt, making remarks about the ‘spiritual lineage’ of babies, and suggesting that bringing unwanted babies into our families might be bringing in ‘curses’ and ‘generational misfortune’. We ostracise unwed mothers, call them loose and undesirable, vilify them and wonder why young girls will do anything, even endangering their lives to get abortions.
Women will always find a way to get abortions, and many of them will die for it. The least we can do is a create an environment where at least one life is saved.