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The Fight To End Female Genital Mutilation

Mercy Adekolade is a survivor of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria; speaking on how FGM affects her health, she said, “I reminded my mum about the monthly pains I always complain of when I heard on a radio program about the impact of FGM.” “I was circumcised at the age of 14. My dad insisted I do it. However, my dad was not with my mum when I was born, so when he resurfaced, he persisted. I felt so much pain because I was a bit older, and until now, I have felt that something is not right with me”.

Impact

According to FGM/C Research Initiative Findings, “The Zones in Nigeria with the highest FGM/C prevalence are South-East (32.0% of women aged 15–49) and South-West (30.0%). The highest state prevalence is in Imo State, at 61.7%. It should be noted that the data for some regions is based on relatively small numbers of women.

When population numbers are used, however, the priority states change from those with the highest percentages (Imo, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kwara, and Osun) to those with the highest numbers of affected girls/women – Lagos, Kaduna, Imo, Kano and Oyo”.

“Most of Nigeria’s population (more than 50%) lives in rural areas. Historically, FGM/C in Nigeria has been more likely to occur in rural areas. Still, in Nigeria, 24.2% of women aged 15–49 living in urban areas have undergone FGM/C, compared with 15.6% living in rural areas. However, in recent years, this appears to be changing: 16.3% of daughters aged 0–14 living in urban areas have experienced FGM/C, compared to 21.1% of those living in rural areas,” The findings stated.

With that in mind, stakeholders agreed that more efforts are required in the pursuit of elimination, and this can be effectively done by putting girls and women who have been subjected to FGM at the forefront and having an in-depth understanding of the challenges.

Zero Tolerance

Minister of Women Affairs Barr Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, while speaking on this year’s theme “Her Voice. Her Future,” said, “On this International day of Zero Tolerance for female genital mutilation, Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate and acknowledge the courage of survivors of FGM who are fighting back and demanding change by calling for an end to female genital mutilation through survivor-led movements.”

“This global push is very pertinent, as it spurs girls and women to take action and control their bodies and futures, claiming what is rightfully theirs.”

Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Uzoma Ayodeji said, “More than 200M women have undergone FGM, and 4.4M women and girls will be at risk if efforts aren’t intensified. UNFPA is putting in more effort to ensure the prevalent rate declines further”.

Awareness

In Lagos, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (NWAPA) organized training for data collation (which includes reports from survivors across the state) to enable tracking of perpetrators of sexual and Gender-Based Violence. The state Commissioner, Cecilia Bolaji Dada, called for synergy among stakeholders.

Nawoj at a school outreach sensitizing students and teachers on Zero Tolerance For FMG
Credits Stella Akusu OyebanjiHead of the Diplomatic Mission of the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) in Nigeria, Chinenye Duru, said in a statement “The consequences of FGM are far-reaching and devastating. Physically, it can lead to severe pain, infections, complications during childbirth, and even death. Emotionally and psychologically, it leaves lasting scars, causing trauma, depression, and a sense of violation.”

He added that the best approach to fight FGM is through community engagement, which includes the involvement of community heads and religious leaders, combined with strong legal frameworks that provide support services for survivors and promote gender balance.

Prevention

Founder of CEE- Hope Nigeria, a non-governmental organization based in Lagos, Mrs. Betty Abah, said in a recent interview that the organization had an ongoing project aimed at curbing female Genital Mutilations, as it can result in a reduction of sexual pleasure in women and sometimes death in many cases.

In a similar reaction to the issue, Chief Medical Officer (CMD), Jericho Nursing Home, Dr. Bashir Kasika said there is a sexual assault referral centre at the hospital, which he said covers all sexually related issues including FGM. He stated that the hospital doors are open for every survivor.

Ending female genital mutilation
Credits Tolu laniyan

Mrs. Jadesola Ajibola of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) said the body is also concerned about the FGM issue, stating that NAWOJ is at the forefront of stepping up a campaign for women regarding inclusion in decision-making in all the thirty-six states in Nigeria. “We have initiated a series of enlightenment programs in secondary schools across the states to raise awareness and empower teenagers, particularly girls, on important issues concerning their rights and well-being,” said Ajibola.

Prof Ojengbede, Director of the Centre for Comprehensive Promotion of Reproductive Health (CCPRH), Nigeria, said, “CCPRH will collaborate with other stakeholders to make sure the fight against FGM runs smoothly, and educate the boys as well as the girls because more needs to be done to close up leakage.”

Ending Female Genital Mutilation

Amplifying the voices of survivors will help to raise awareness, drive change, and birth a generation free of FGM. The government and stakeholders need to be actively involved in plans designed to address FGM and other harmful practices in Nigeria.

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Tolu Laniyan

I'm Tolu Laniyan, and I'm passionate about writing engaging content for everyday life. I specialize in topics on Reproductive health, Child development, Food & Nutrition.

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