’20 million Nigerian girls have been mutilated’

A non-governmental organization (NGO), Onelife Initiative for Human Development and the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) has bemoaned the high rate of female genital mutilation in the country, to the extent that 20 million girls have been mutilated.

The organizations made this observation during at programme in Ibadan consequently calling on government at all levels to rev up measures to end female genital mutilation.

Contributing to the programme themed, “End Female Genital Mutilation Poster Art Competition Award Ceremony”, programmes and media manager, Onelife Initiative for Human Development, Mr Sola Fagorusi, warned of the consequences of FGM to include difficulties faced by women during delivery, labour and their vulnerability to vesico vagina fistula.

Especially, Fagorusi noted the tendency for females to suffer from shock and death, praying for increased sensitization campaigns to deter the next generation of women from indulging in mutilation.

He charged government at all levels and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to regularly sensitize Nigerians on harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and early child marriage.

“The global figure shows that 200 million girls have actually been mutilated. 10 per cent of the statistics involve girls in Nigeria. The implication of this is that 20 million girls have been mutilated. Ebonyi is number two in term of national ranking of FMG.”

“FGM has psycho-social effect where the woman doesn’t enjoy sexual union with her husband and causes broken homes. So, government at all levels must ensure that they increase measures to ensure that the next generation of mothers won’t indulge in mutilation.”

“Government needs to do more in terms of intervention and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) as part of its mandate should look into harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and early child marriage and enlighten the people. In addition, government needs to use the media by sponsoring programmes and complementing what NGOs are doing,” Fagorusi said.

He faulted insinuations that mutilating a female prevents them from being promiscuous, calling for increased sexual education to build good character and values in children.

Noting assertions of medical experts, he faulted the notion that whenever a child’s head touches the clitoris, the child will die.

On the claim that FGM was part of culture, Fagorusi said, “Culture is dynamic and changes with civilization. This is not to discountenance the quality and importance of culture but we are saying that in this instance, culture does not stand especially when there is no medical verification.”

Describing female genital mutilation as a family crime, Barrister Ronke Ige of the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) quoted various legal provisions locally, nationally and internationally where people seek redress.

He cited relevant laws such as Violence against Persons Prohibition Act 2015; Violence against Women Prohibition Law Oyo State 2016 Section 6 (1) which protected persons subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment.

She added that people can also take recourse in Cap 1V Section 34(1 (a) of the 1999 Constitution which protected dignity of human beings.