Despite the progress made, Nigeria needs to go 10 times fasters due to its growing population, to tackle the harmful practices of Female Genital Mutilation, FGM to meet the global target of eliminating the practice.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA over 200 million girls and women have experienced female genital mutilation, FGM and Nigeria alone contributes 10 percent to the global burden, making the country with the highest number of cases in globally.
The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, country represented, Ms. Ulla Mueller stated this in Abuja at a media conference to commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation marked on the 6th of February every year.
Ms. Ulla Mueller explained that although the national prevalence has dopped from 25 percent to 20 percent, for women age 15 to 49 years, the country must ensure budget provision to address the harmful practices.
“To end female genital mutilation, we must empower women and girls to oppose the continuation of the practice. We have to work closely with men, with boys, with out traditional and religious leaders as advocate. Nigeria must join the global efforts to ensure that budget lines to end FGM and other gender-based violence are clear in annual budget” she said.
For the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, the cultural practice of FGM was a violation of the human rights and body integrity of Women and girls thus the need to create FGM related services free and accessible.
“we cannot continue to hide under the guise of cultural practices to continue to violate the human rights of our women and girls. The culture has long be shrouded in silence which makes it difficult for victims to speak for fear of stigmatization” she said
The National President, International Federation of female lawyers, FIDA Nigeria, Mrs Rodah Theoden explained the constitutional provisions that prohibits FGM which supersedes all cultural norm.
The Founder women Against violence and Exploitation, WAVE, a non-governmental organisation and a survival of FGM, Ms. Lola Ibrahim advocated the need to increase access for survivals to seek mental health to overcome the trauma of FGM.
The theme for this year commemoration “No Time for Global Inaction: Unite, Fund, and Act to end Female Genital Mutilation” calls for a collective action and responsibility on the part of government and stakeholders to proactively address the harmful practices Female Genital Mutilation on women and girls.