The National Population Commission (NPC) has warned that the closure of schools in Nigeria as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic could result in rising cases of teenage pregnancies and abortions.
This was revealed by the acting Executive Chairman of the commission, Dr Tayo Oyetunji, while speaking on the 2020 World Population Day in Abuja.
Mr Oyetunji stated that since the coronavirus pandemic set in, Nigeria has recorded an increase in the rate of rapes and other forms of gender-based violence against girls and women.
“In the absence of schooling, more girls are likely to drop out of school and other consequences could include early marriage and high fertility, morbidity and maternal mortality, abortion and low self-esteem,” he said.
“COVID-19 did not make it easy for women to access and utilize reproductive health facilities, especially as the logistics of getting to health facilities were negatively impacted,” he added.
In a related development, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has kicked against the re-opening of schools, saying the move could put the lives of teachers and students at risk.
Comrade Anderson Ezeibe, National President of ASUP said it was too premature for the government to re-open schools because it has not provided adequate measures against the spread of the coronavirus among students.
“It is common knowledge that our schools are not prepared to cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and as such any effort in the direction of reopening the schools now will only endanger the lives of both students and staff,” Mr Ezeibe noted.