As Nigerians joined the rest of the world to celebrate St Valentine’s Day on Wednesday, a survey has indicated there was about 70 per cent increase in the sale of condoms and contraceptives purchased mainly by fun seekers.
A check by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) around Oyingbo, Yaba, Ikeja and University of Lagos (UNILAG) on the day shows that there was an increase in the sale of the materials for safe sex.
Though there are many diverse historic stories surrounding how St Valentine’s Day came to existence, the most celebrated account is about a Roman priest beheaded in the third century.
The date is for the celebration of what many chose to call season of love is Feb. 14.
Arguably, no one can agree on exactly what he did or why he was executed but some legends say St. Valentine was a bishop in Terni, Italy.
He was said to have healed the sick, including the blind daughter of a prison guard whom he met while in jail for practicing Christianity in a pagan world.
Some say he was sentenced to death because he tried to convert Emperor Claudius to Christianity.
Others yet say the sentence came because he was caught secretly performing weddings, defying a ban on marriage that had been imposed by the Emperor as a solution to a military recruitment crunch.
The check by NAN on the supermarkets, chain stores and kiosks around Lagos showed that condom sales are on the increase with the sellers’ acknowledging the increase in their sales.
At Anifat Stores, Oyingbo road, there was about 80 per cent increase in the sale of condoms according to the shop owner, Mrs Anifat Adebiyi.
Adebiyi said that it was expected that there should be a major increase in the sale of condoms and contraceptives because there would always be an increase in sexual activities on such a day.
“We do have a sharp increase, and it is expected we have more sales during Valentine’s Days because that is the day many will want to express themselves.
“We are expecting more sales because many will still come to buy, but we don’t normally increase the price of the condoms.
“Condoms are in various qualities depending on the one the consumer may want to buy. It is a season everybody wants to show love through love making.
Another Kiosk owner at Oyingbo said that he was expecting his supplier to give him more quantities because he was almost out of sale.
“I am expecting my supplier for more condoms because there will be more demand today being Valentine’s Day.
“I always have increase in the sale of condoms during Valentine days and it is expected because many anticipate that,’’ he said.
Another check by NAN to the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka shows a lots of Valentine’s Day celebration going on in the campus.
Students in the mood of the season of love showed that they were in the celebration garb with many regarding the day as a time to express undying love among themselves.
Many of the students were dressed in red typifying the colour of the day, while many were also dancing to the music blaring at the popular student arcade from a stand by DJ.
A student in the Department of Education, Kofoworola Majekodunmi, said that it was a day when immoral activities were at its peak because of what many ascribed the day to be.
“ Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers and fun for loved ones, families and friends. It is a day set aside for immoral activities and socials.
“This is also when illicit affairs commence more because people’s perspective says it is a day for lovers and friends,’’ she said.
The Assistant Secretary-General of Anti-Aids Club in the university, Joshua Ogunmola, a student of English Education, said Valentine is a day for lovers, but the club advises students on the need for safe sex.
He said the club preached on the ABC of Sex Abstinence, Be faithful and use Condom; especially Abstinence.
He said that many packs of free condoms were distributed to students.
“The rate at which condom sells during the Valentine Day is about 70 to 80 per cent this is a result of the celebration of today.
“The students want to show appreciation, love and have fun. People abuse this day by luring girls into immoral sexual activities in the name of love and valentine.
Longe Omotosho, a student of Department of Education, emphasised the negative effect saying that people abuse the day by indulging in illicit affairs, most especially students who say is meant for lovers.
“Students should learn to abstain and show love without indulging in illicit affairs which says in the commandment “Thou shall not commit adultery’’.
Kiosks and chains of supermarket said the increase in condom sales is much and the belief that Valentine’s Day is meant for fun and entertainment fuelled the sales.
Meanwhile, many organisations, including the Federal Government had cautioned youths on the use of condoms and abstinence from sex on Valentine’s Day.
Dr Sani Aliyu, Director-General, National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) on Wednesday urged youths to play safe and stay protected while celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Aliyu made the call at the commemoration of 2018 World Condom Day in conjunction with Valentine’s Day celebration in Abuja.
He also enjoined youths to get tested and know their HIV status.
He said it was important for youths in the country to play safe and stay protected during this season of Valentine to arrest the transmission of new HIV infection.
“It is important for our youths to stay protected, HIV is still much around and the best way for them to protect themselves from HIV is through abstinence.
“However, if they cannot abstain from sex, then they have to use a barrier protection. Yesterday and today is an opportunity for everyone to get tested for HIV.
“All youths should get tested to know their status; it is very easy and not painful.
“Persons who test positive will be placed on medication that will help them live a normal and healthy life, while those negative should take necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones,’’ Aliyu said.
Also, Dr Greg Abiaziem, the Acting Country Programme Manager, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), said the event was targeted at increasing awareness and to promote the prevention of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
“Others include safer sex, condom use and its role in preventing HIV and unwanted pregnancies.
“It is important to ensure that condom option was made available as preventive measure to youths who can’t abstain from sex as new HIV infections is highest among young people from 15 to 24 years,’’ he said.