By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
At least 20 million children and women have been reported to be victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria.
A Gender Desk Officer, Ekiti State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Oluwakemi Akinleye, gave the revelation in Ado Ekiti ,on Tuesday,during a Stop Cut Project capacity building for Media Practitioners in Ekiti State on female genital mutilation.
The workshop was organised by HACEY Health Initiative and funded by United Nations Trust Fund and Spotlight Initiative.
Akinleye during her presentation said: “A national survey carried out in 2018 and still operational reveals that about 19.9 million children and women have been victims of female genital cut. This number to us was alarming .
“Going by this scientific survey, the victims are within the age range of 15 and 49, which have been having psychological, emotional,sexual and psycho Traumatic Stress Disorder on their wellbeing.
“FGM is a bad practice, whether it is done traditionally or medical. Medicalization of FGM, that is the ones being done by doctors, nurses and other health officials does not make the practice healthy and save”.
Mrs. Akinleye warned parents to desist from FGM that is still in practice in African continent, Nigeria in particular, saying such has caused a lot of damage to the lives of women .
She also said Imo State has the highest prevalence rate in the country with Ekiti trailing as having the second highest in spite of the sensitization and advocacy programmes and the political will being displayed by government of Ekiti State.
She revealed that Ekiti has the highest level of prevalence rate in the southwest,with Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Osun States trailing in that order.
“Ekiti has 72.9 percent prevalence rate in the southwest. But due to political will , it has reduced to 57.9 percent and the sensitisation and advocacy by stakeholders must continue to be able to win the war.
“In Ekiti, local governments like Ikere, Ido/Osi,Ikole, Ekiti West and Ekiti Southwest have been identified as having the highest prevalence rate with Ekiti West having the highest which is 85.2 percent”.
Akinleye , however, expressed fear that the emerging mindset that the FGM will be successful and without consequences, if performed by medical experts, is becoming a major impediment to the war against FGM in the country.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, Gender Relevance Initiative Promotion(GRIP), Barr. Rita Ilevbare, advised stakeholders, including government , civil society and non- governmental organisations to intensify efforts to rout FGM to safeguard the lives of Nigerian children and women.
Ilevbare stated that enormous sensitisation must be done on the issue of legal process, litigation and punutuv bactions awaiting FGM offenders to dissuade them from carrying out such unhealthy task.
“FGM has no advantage, it ruins people’s lives. Every successive government must have the political will to be able to harness all resources and setting up legal framework that would help in checkmating the practitioners, this remains the best way to make people save from childhood to adulthood”.
Also, a Media Practitioner and Chairperson ,National Association for Women Journalists(NAWOJ), Ekiti Council, Mrs Fatima Bello,said the policy makers must be firm with implementation of laws prohibiting the practice and engage all relevant stakeholders, for the menace of FGM to be obliterated completely in Nigeria by 2030.