Female genital mutilation (FGM), simply referred to as female circumcision, has become a reoccurring issue which has existed for centuries in virtually all parts of Nigeria. It is a traditional belief that preaches chastity among the women folks. But it has been kicked against by both local and international organizations, including health experts, who described the practice as a violation of the right of girls and women.
Unfortunately, the unhealthy action has continued unabated in Nigeria and gravely affecting women and girls in an unquantifiable manner. Contrary to the general notion that the practice now thrives only in the rural areas, it is still being practiced even among the educated families, who invite these “cutters” from the villages to circumcise their girls in the cities.
In Nigeria, Osun, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Abia and Oyo states stand taller in the prevalence of FGM.
Over the years, the elimination of female circumcision in Nigeria has been on the front burners in the activities of WHO, United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Federation of International Obstetrics and Gynecology (FIGO), African Union (AU), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and many women organizations. Sadly, data from the National Demographic Health Survey revealed that 24.8 percent of Nigerian girls and women aged 15 to 49 have been circumcised, with states in the South East region accounting for 45 percent; and southwestern states accounting for up to 55 percent. The report also showed that cutting occurs mostly in early childhood with 82 percent of women in Nigeria getting circumcised before the age of five.
To curtail the ugly development, UNICEF, in collaboration with the Human Right Clinic, University of Lagos recently hosted the first-ever Frown Awards in Lagos, to celebrate people who are advancing the abandonment of FGM in Nigeria.
Speaking in Lagos, on behalf of UNICEF, a child protection specialist, Maryam Enyiazu, reiterated that FGM was gender-based violence against women and girls, which needed to be tackled by all