Highest prevalence of FGM in Osun worrisome – Aregbesola

THE wife of Osun State governor, Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola, has described the highest prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the state as worrisome, contending that sensitisation and awareness campaign must be stepped up to stop the practice.

Addressing a press conference in Osogbo, the state capital, Aregbesola, who is also the president of Sheri Care Foundation said concerted efforts should be made by all relevant stakeholders to tackle the growing menace of female genital mutilation, which is more prevalent in the Southern zone than the Northern region of the country.

She maintained that data from National Demographic Health Survey, 2013 indicated that “Nigeria has the third largest absolute number of women and girls (19.9 million) who have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) worldwide after Egypt and Ethiopia.”

Quoting the data from the National Demographic Health Survey, Aregbesola asserted that “80 per cent of women in Nigeria undergo circumcision before age five. FGM is more prevalent in the Southern zones than the Northern zones. The result of this survey puts states with the highest prevalence as Osun (77 per cent Ebonyi (74 per cent Ekiti (72 per cent Imo (68 per cent Oyo (66 per cent and Lagos (34.5 per cent).”

“It is more worrisome from the above data that our state (Osun) stays on top of the national prevalence data. This calls for concern and the need to mobilise all stakeholders to help stop this unwholesome practice,” she remarked.

While attributing the causes of FGM to social pressure, chastity religion and monetary factors, among others, Aregbesola said reasons for female circumcision may not be the same in all communities in Osun, adding that studies have shown that the practice of FGM was not supported by facts and science in whatever community or society.

Describing FGM as a clear violation of the rights of women and girls in Nigeria to life and physical integrity, she observed that “health implications of FGM ranges from dangerous infections, arising from unsanitary condition in which FGM is carried out to death through severe bleeding, pain, trauma and overwhelming infections.”