An expert has revealed that no fewer than 80 per cent of Nigerian girls and women are victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the country.
A health educator at the Ekiti South-west Local Government Area of Ekiti State, Mr. Seidu Kayode, gave the revelation in Ilawe-Ekiti, yesterday during a Stop Cut Project and community sensitisation workshop to ending FGM in the council area.
The workshop organised by HACEY Health Initiative in partnership with Access Bank, was funded by the United Nations Trust Fund and Spotlight Initiative for women and girl child in the area. The health educator, who lamented over the development, which he said had caused permanent and temporary harms to female folk, urged residents of the area to join forces with the government to end the menace.
He disclosed that a national survey carried out in 2018 in 20 states of the federation, revealed that “about 80 per cent of Nigerian women and girl child have been victims of genital cut.”
Describing the number as very alarming, the expert, stressed “the need for the people to join hands with the government in sensitization and educating the people on the need to end the harmful and life-threatening practice.”
The Executive Director, HACEY Health Initiative, Dr. Rhoda Robinson, described FGM as a flagrant violation and abridgement of human rights.
She added that the organisation had embarked on advocacy visit to some traditional rulers in different communities within the State on the need to sensitise their subjects on the harmful effects of FGM. The Executive Director, said other advocacy efforts made by his organization were sensitisation of couples during marriages, market women and other women-led organisations.
She explained that scientific survey had shown that victims of FGM are those within the age range of 15 and 49 years,with many suffering psychological, emotional , sexual and psycho Traumatic Stress Disorders .
“FGM is a bad practice, whether it is done traditionally or medically, that is the ones being done by doctors, nurses and other health officials. That it is done by medical experts doesn’t make the practice healthy and save.
“Let me warn parents in this area to desist from FGM that is still in practice in Ekiti State, Ekiti South-west in particular, because it has caused a lot of damage to the lives of women and girl child.”
In their separate remarks, the Iyaloja of Ilawe and Igbara-Odo Ekiti, Chiefs Yemisi Eleyinafe and Ajoke Hasstrup, said stakeholders in the communities would continue to intensity efforts to end the menace of FGM to safeguard the lives of children and women in the communities.
They equally promised that they will begin a process for the passing of information to the populace on the legal implications of FGM and punishment awaiting offenders, to dissuade them from embarking on such harmful and prohibited practice.