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Sunday, November 27, 2022

25m Nigerian girl child are victims of FGM says expert

Victor Akinkuolie, Ado-Ekiti

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A Gender Desk Officer at the Ekiti State Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Mr. Tolu Ogunniyi, has revealed that no fewer than 25 million Nigerian girl child and women have been reported to be victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country.

Ogunniyi, gave the revelation in Ado-Ekiti, on Tuesday, during a Stop Cut Project, learning and experience sharing capacity building for Media Practitioners and other Stakeholders in Ekiti State on Female Genital Mutilation.

The workshop organised by HACEY Health Initiative, funded by United Nations Trust Fund and Spotlight Initiative for all Journalists and other major stakeholders in Ekiti State.

Ogunniyi who lamented over the development which he said has caused harmful effects to female child said: “A national survey carried out in 2018 within 20 states of the Federation, reveals that about 80% of Nigerian women have been victims of female genital cut.

According to him the number which he described as alarming, stressed the needs for members of the media and other members of the public to join hands with the Ekiti State Ministry of Women’s Affairs in advocacy campaign on the need to put an end to the trend.

Describing FGM as a violation of human rights, the Gender Desk Officer however explained that Ekiti State through the ministry of Women’s Affairs have embarked on advocacy visit to some traditional rulers within the State on the need to sensitise their subjects on the harmful effects of FGM.

Other advocacy efforts mentioned by him were sensitisation of couples during marriage registry in various local governments within the State, training of about 52 law enforcement agents to arrest and prosecute FGM offenders as well as sensitization of market women and other women-led organisation within the State.

“Going by the scientific survey, the victims are within the age range of 15 and 49, which have been having psychological, emotional , sexual and psycho Traumatic Stress Disorder on their wellbeing .

“FGM is a bad practice, whether it is done traditionally or medical medicalization of FGM, that is the ones being done by doctors, nurses and other health officials does not make the practice healthy and save”.

The Gender Desk Officer however warned parents to desist from FGM that is still in practice in African continent, Nigeria in particular, saying such has caused a lot of damage to the lives of women.

He revealed that Ekiti has the highest level of prevalence rate in the southwest, with Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Osun States trailing in that order.

“Ekiti has 72.9 percent prevalence rate in the southwest. But due to political will , it has reduced to 57.9 percent and the sensitisation and advocacy by stakeholders must continue to be able to win the war .

“In Ekiti, local governments like Ikere, Ido/Osi , Ikole, Ekiti West and Ekiti Southwest have been identified as having the highest prevalence rate with Ekiti West having the highest which is 85.2 percent”.

Ogunniyi , however, expressed fear that the emerging mindset that the FGM will be successful and without consequences, if performed by medical experts, is becoming a major impediment to the war against FGM in the country.

Also speaking, the Ekiti State Director of the National Orientation Agency NOA, Mrs Olawumi Famiyiwa, advised stakeholders, including government , civil society and non- governmental organisations to intensify efforts to rout FGM to safeguard the lives of Nigerian children and women.

Famuyiwa, stated that enormous sensitisation must be done on the issue of legal process, litigation and punitive actions awaiting FGM offenders to dissuade them from carrying out such unhealthy task.

“FGM has no advantage, it ruins people’s lives. Every successive government must have the political will to be able to harness all resources and setting up legal framework that would help in checkmating the practitioners, this remains the best way to make people save from childhood to adulthood”.

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