Omu-Aran (Kwara) – Women purchase about 85 per cent of an estimated 1.2 billion valentine cards that are sold worldwide annually, Mrs Felicia Bello, the Matron, Landmark University Medical Centre, Omu-Aran, has said.
Bello said this at a health counselling initiative organised for secondary school students in Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara, on Friday.
Quoting statistics from the World Greeting Card Association, Bello said the figure had made Valentine’s Day, the second most popular card exchange celebration after Christmas.
She said that the official card purchase figure for Christmas celebration was an estimated 2.6 billion cards globally.
The counselling activity tagged: “Health Counselling toward Valentine’’ was organised by Landmark University Community Development Impact Initiative (LMUCDII).
No fewer than 150 students participated in the counselling initiative.
Bello said that in spite of the fact that Valentine’s Day celebration had transformed into a global celebration of love, many persons, particularly the youth, celebrated the day wrongly.
“Many people are introduced to habits that will destroy their destiny.
“Many young girls from age 10 years to 15 years are defiled on the night of Valentine’s Day, with some of them ending up with HIV or unwanted pregnancy.
“Many are initiated into cultism and other wicked associations — some unknowingly — as such celebrations usually start at odd hours,” she said.
The matron, therefore, cautioned the students to shun all the negative and anti-social aspects of Valentine Day’s celebration.
She urged them to only embrace those positive aspects which had to do with sharing of affection, gifts, food items and even ideas that could enhance their future.
A resource person, Mrs Olubunmi Joseph-Fadipe, who presented a paper on “Valentine, Love and God’’, urged the students to always allow God be their guide in their day-to-day activities, particularly on Valentine’s Day.
She bemoaned the fact that most Valentine Day’s celebrations nowadays had negated the original objectives of its innovators, saying that the development was doing more harm than good to the society.
Joseph-Fadipe said: “Today’s Valentine’s Day celebration, especially in this part of the world, has been hijacked by anti-social vices.’’
In his remark, Pastor Abiodun Okunola, the Chairman of LMUCDII, said that the counselling activity was aimed at sensitising the students to the need to eschew ungodly habits in their celebration of Valentine’s Day.
He said that the institution, through the initiative, had made donations to orphanages, while looking at practical ways of making agriculture more attractive to the youth, in partnership with Omu-Aran Youth Forum.
“It is our belief that with the education and information which the students were able to garner from the counselling, they would be able to jealously safeguard their future,” Okunola said.
Speaking, Oluwatomisin Jegede, a student of Landmark University Secondary School, Omu-Aran, said that the counselling activity had greatly enhanced her knowledge on the positive and negative aspects of the Valentine’s Day celebration.
The schools which participated in the programme include Omu-Aran High School; Government Secondary School, Omu-Aran; Government Christian College, Omu-Aran; Victory Model College; Aperan Comprehensive College and Ofe-Aran Commercial College.