Sales of condoms and contraceptives soar by 70% across Nigeria as couples celebrate Valentines Day

CONDOM and contraceptive sales soared by 70% across Nigeria yesterday as couples took time out to celebrate the annual love ritual of Valentine's Day that involves men and women affirming their commitment to each other.


Nigeria is currently the world's seventh most populous nation with about 190m people and has one of the highest birth rates globally.  As Nigerians joined the rest of the world to celebrate St Valentine’s Day on yesterday, a survey has indicated there was a spike in the sale of contraceptives purchased by fun seekers.


A check around Oyingbo, Yaba, Ikeja and the University of Lagos showed that there was an increase in the sale of the materials for safe sex. In a sign that Nigerians are taking the campaigns around safe sex seriously, health officials would be delighted to find out that couples resorted to the widespread use of contraception.


Although 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. 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, while others say the sentence came about 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.


Yesterday, however, Nigerians were unconcerned about this as supermarkets, chain stores and kiosks around Lagos showed that condom sales were on the increase. At Anifat Stores on Oyingbo Road, there was about an 80% increase in the sale of condoms according to the shop owner Mrs Anifat Adebiyi.


Mrs Adebiyi said: “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. He added that he always has an increase in the sale of condoms during Valentine days and it is expected because many anticipate that.


Another check at the University of Lagos showed students in a celebratory mood 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 standby DJ.


Joshua Ogunmola, the assistant secretary-general of Anti-Aids Club in the university, 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 Condoms, especially Abstinence.


Dr Sani Aliyu, the director-general of the National Agency for the Control of Aids urged youths to play safe and stay protected while celebrating Valentine’s Day. He also enjoined youths to get tested and know their HIV status.