Stop Sending Girl-Child For Imaginary ‘Deliverance,’ Fayemi’s Wife Warns Parents

February 18, 2014

L-R: Ekiti State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Olusola Fasubaa; Programme Adviser, Women's Health and Action Research Centre, Prof. Friday Okonofua; Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; and Commissioner for Women Affairs, Social Development and Gender Empowerment, Mrs. Fola Richie-Adewusi, during a stakeholders' forum on prevention of teenage pregnancy in Ekiti State, held in Ado-Ekiti.

Wife of Ekiti State governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, has cautioned parents against exposing their girl-child to sexual predators while seeking imaginary spiritual cleansing, otherwise known as deliverance.

She said many under-aged girls have unwittingly become sex slaves while being held captive by the so-called religious leaders, leading to pregnancy and fatal abortions.

The First Lady disclosed these at a stakeholders’ forum on the prevention of teenage pregnancy, organized by the Women Health and Action Research Centre, in collaboration with the Ekiti Development Foundation, in Ado-Ekiti, on Tuesday.

Erelu Bisi Fayemi said, “When you send your girl-child to all these spiritual homes for imaginary deliverance, they become exposed to illicit sex by the so-called religious leaders expected to ‘deliver’ or heal them.

“While I will not cast aspersions at any religion, I want to charge you parents to learn to intercede on your children’s behalf. Who says your prayers will not be answered if you closet yourself and pray to God.

“These sexual predators masquerading as religious leaders carry out all sorts of unprintable stunts in the name of cleansing. In the end they end up impregnating these girls.”

She called for concerted approach to stem the tide of teenage pregnancy in the country to safeguard the wellbeing and future of the girl-child.

In this regard, the governor’s wife said parents, traditional institutions, religious bodies, educational institutions, the judiciary, law enforcement agencies and members of each community had a role to play.

With hindsight, she said young girls are being exploited by paedophiles and sometimes their peers owing to ignorance, neglect, negligence and poverty, particularly among parents.

The governor’s wife promised to continue to collaborate with other institutions to invoke the provisions of the Child Rights Law already in operation in the state to curb the trend of teenage pregnancy.

She reminded the gathering that it was a punishable offence for a man to have sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 18 years, not minding the usual claim of mutual consent by the perpetrators.

She added, “In Ekiti state and in a couple states in Nigeria, we have the Child Rights Law and under the provision of the law, sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 18 is child rape.

“If an older man has sexual intercourse with a girl less than 18 years, the man needs to be arrested to face charges of child rape. The present administration in Ekiti will not allow the lives of our youths to be wasted as a result of teenage pregnancy.”

The governor’s wife noted that empowerment and increased sensitization of women and education of the girl-child was paramount to curbing the incidence in the state.

Calling on school authorities to keep close tabs on the girl-child, she said that they would henceforth be held liable for any reported case of sexual assault against the girl.

Similarly, she said any teacher found to have sexually violated a school girl would be summarily dismissed from the system if found guilty by a disciplinary panel.

She also expressed worry at the manner fathers abandoned their responsibilities to their children and wives, which she said contributed to over exposure of girls to sex.

Advising against stigmatization of victims of teenage pregnancy, the First Lady said that government would put a programme in place to enable teenage mothers to continue their education after child birth.

Last modified: February 18, 2014

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