The United Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Matthias Schemale, has called for concrete actions such as strong political will as well as collection and use of reliable data to inform public policy initiatives, programming and advocacy to end Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria.
Schemale who made the call in Abuja while delivering a goodwill message at the launch of the “Movement for Good to End FGM”, noted that Nigeria is currently not to track in the commitment to end FGM by 2030 with less than seven years to go.
Female Genital Mutilation – FGM – remains widespread in Nigeria. Although disparities in the practice exist across geopolitical zones, the National Demographic Health Survey NDHS 2018, puts the national FGM prevalence rate among girls and women aged 15-49 at 20 percent, while state FGM prevalence ranges from 62 per cent in Imo State to less than 1 per cent in Adamawa and Gombe States.
The prevalence of FGM among this age group is highest in the South East (35 per cent) and South West (30 per cent) and lowest in the North East (6 per cent).
Speaking at the official launch of the “Movement for Good to End FGM”, the UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Matthias Schemale said perpetrators of the practice device ways of evading surveillance, there by reversing the gains recorded over the years.
While recalling the positive impact the state of emergency earlier declared by the Federal Government had on the drive to end FGM in Nigeria, Schemale however, regretted the slow response by legislators on the call for domestication of FGM laws by the UN.
“Nigeria has in fact made so much public commitments to ending FGM by 2030, with less than seven years to go we are unfortunately, seriously off track as the numbers show.
“So the question therefore is what can we do differently to accelerate social norm challenge and ensure that violence against women and girls through genital cutting stops.
“There is need for concrete actions such as strong political will, collection and use of reliable data to inform public policy initiatives, programming and advocacy to end Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria.”
The Practice of FGM has no medical, physical or psychological to women and girls but rather, a harmful practice that impacts on the health, economic and social wellbeing of females.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Talen believes that eliminating the practice of Female Genital Mutilation is vital to achieving the millennium development goals, as she urged traditional leaders to support the initiative to end FGM.
“Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation is crucial to realizing most of the Sustainable Development Goals including quality of health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth.
“The continuous practice of FGM denies girls and women equal education opportunities for decent work as their health particularly sexual and reproductive health are affected.
“Permit me to inform this gathering that the present administration under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is aware of the grave danger of this practice to women and girls and is strongly committed to ensuring that the practice is eradicated through the support of our traditional rulers.”
Traditional rulers in Nigeria, pledged to drive the process to eliminate FGM at the grassroots level, National President of the Association of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria, Eze T. A Obiefune, spoke on their behalf.
“Traditional Rulers will give support as we have always done, you will succeed and Female Genital Mutilation will be stopped as soon as possible.”
The Federal Government of Nigeria in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) convened the high-level launch of the Movement for Good to end FGM in Nigeria, an initiative targeted at mobilizing 5 million Nigerians to “Act to End FGM”.