The menace of Female Genital Mutilation
Today, female circumcision is a growing practice in Nigeria. According to an FGM report, Ekiti state occupies the second position among the six states with the highest prevalence of the menace.
Despite the general consensus that FGM is harmful and needs to be stopped, it remains a major practice in the state with the practitioners hiding under religious and cultural myths to perpetrate the heinous crime. The Ekiti State First Lady, Mrs. Feyisetan Fayose, recently in a document condemned the practice stressing that it was unacceptable. She said there was need for advocacy for elimination of this harmful practice in the state which is seen globally “as a gross violation of the human rights of girls and women.”
The report further stated that available data from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) 2015 revealed that the highest figure of women and girls who have undergone FGM worldwide after Egypt and Ethiopia, translates to about one-quarter of circumcised women worldwide. The report added that Ekiti has a prevalence of 71.2 per cent, which has ‘earned’ the state the second place position.
The Ekiti State First Lady is not only championing the campaign to end the practice in the state, but she is also partnering with the other wives of governors in the six endemic states to end the practice.
Speaking at the meeting in Ado-Ekiti, Governor Peter Fayose, stated that the administration would provide the necessary support to ensure that the practice was wiped out in the state, and also assured that offenders would be prosecuted with no options of fine.
“We will take the message to the people practicing it and I will ensure that for every address on television, I will speak about the issue.”
In her remark, the First Lady of Ekiti noted that the practice should be of serious concern to the nation and stakeholders, adding that statistics indicates that the Southern zone have higher prevalence rate than the Northern zone of the country.
She added that despite the country’s growth in education and exposure to western culture, more women in the South were still victims of female circumcision, noting that Nigerians were too decent as a people to accept this stigma without a strategy to checkmate the trend and pull ourselves out of this inglorious grouping.”
She said: “The traditional cultural practice of female circumcision is generational and has been deeply entrenched in our society to the extent that several people would still not understand why this should be discouraged. In Ekiti State, we are leaving no stone unturned not only to step up awareness on the evils and dangers inherent in the practice, we are also deepening our regular interface with the various bodies and organisations on the effects of the harmful practice.
“We are sure that this will put to an end to a large extent those who submit their female wards for the practice and the practitioners in all ramifications. Government organisations at various levels are also being strengthened to be able to deliver on their mandates by providing effective monitoring of the activities of the Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs).
“I call on all stakeholders to further look at ways and means to reduce the prevalence of the practice in the South-west. This would be better achieved by joining forces together and making our zone a ‘no go area’ for glorification of a cultural practice that does not add value to us in any way. I therefore appeal to everyone of goodwill, to join in the crusade and free our society from the pains of a practice that is premised on the ignorance and nurtured by needless agonies for vulnerable female children,” she said.
By Ugo Aliogo