Progress Made in The Abandonment of FGM in Nigeria

FACTS ABOUT FGM

Female genital mutilation refers to all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organ for non-medical reasons. Effects of female genital mutilation also known as female circumcisions are enormous and have long term physical, emotional, psychological effects on women and girls. These include bleeding, shock, infections, leakage of urine/feces (VVF), genital tissue swelling, birth complications, emotional trauma, sexual health issues, problems with their partners/spouses and death.

About 200 million women and girls worldwide are living with the effects of female genital mutilation according to
Female genital mutilation violates the rights of women and girls. It is a form of gender-based violence.

6 states have a high prevalence of female genital mutilation in Nigeria: Imo, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ebonyi, and Edo States.

 

PUBLIC DECLARATION BY COMMUNITIES TO ELIMINATE FGM

Members of the Oyo Messi Elders Council at the Oyo state public declaration to Abandon FGM

Izzi Clan, Ebonyi State

At Izzi community, a young girl in the company of two other girls fled from home one night as they were about to go through the initiation rite to womanhood which included female genital mutilation. Their brave attempt to escape led to the intervention of the child protection network, UNICEF, Ministry of women affairs and this started the process of engaging the custodians of culture in Izzi community in a sensitization effort. On the 16th of June 2017, 26 communities in Izzi clan and three other LGA (Abakaliki, Ebonyi, and Izzi) made a public declaration on the abandonment of female genital mutilation. The declaration was signed by the traditional ruler’s forum and custodians of the Izzi culture and royal fathers.

Imo State

On the 23rd of November, 2018 the several sensitization and education of many communities by UNICEF, NOA and other partners culminated into the public declaration of 28 communities in Ngor-Okpala Local government to abandon Female Genital Mutilation. At the event were the State Director NOA, Mr. Vitus Ekeocha, UNICEF Consultant on FGM for Ebonyi and Imo, Mr. Benjamin Mbakwem, traditional rulers, groups of women, men and the youths representing the various communities.

Oyo State

One of the traditional practices upheld by some parts of the Yoruba land is the act of female genital mutilation also known as female circumcision. On the 20th of December 94 communities in Oyo from Oorelope 49, Kajola 24, and Oyo West 21(LGAs) made a public declaration to abandon the practice of FGM.
After several community engagements with community members and public enlightenment with various stakeholders( artisans, youth, men and women’s groups, traditional and religious leaders) communities in Oorelope, Kajola, and Oyo West made the decision to henceforth protect the future of girls and women by putting an end to FGM.

The public declaration of these communities took place at the palace of His Royal Majesty Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III. The Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Oyo state, Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu; representatives of UNICEF , Dr. Olasunmbo Odebode, Child Protection Specialist for UNICEF and Mrs Olutayo Aderonke , the UNICEF Consultant for FGM in Ekiti, Oyo and Osun explains and High chiefs of Oyo Messi were all present at the public declaration to eliminate FGM.

Benefits of public declaration: Endcuttinggirls website

Osun State

Similarly, 38 communities in Osun state held an event in 2018 where community members and stakeholders signed an undertaking to eliminate the harmful cultural practice of FGM. Osun state has the highest prevalence of FGM practice in southwest Nigeria. In the words of the UNICEF consultant on FGM for Osun, Oyo and Ekiti, Mrs. Aderonke Olutayo, “the event rewrites history and marks a new chapter for the next generation of girls and women in these communities”. The state director NOA, Osun, Mrs. Yomi Olasinde and other partners were present at this historic event.

Edo State

In January 2019, Edo State passed the Violence Against Persons Bill into Law. This law makes provision for perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation to be sentenced to “life imprisonment”, without a fine in the state.

Media campaign on Radio, TV and social media have greatly contributed to increased awareness about the long term effect of FGM on women and girls. There are ongoing education and sensitization among school students. This is to equip the young generation with the necessary information so that they can be empowered to say NO and also prevent their own children from being cut in the future.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

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