Despite efforts by local and internal agencies like the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and partners to eradicate the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FMG) in Nigeria, statistics still indicate that the country ranks third highest among practicing countries in the world.
The world body, which further condemned state governments for poor implementation of policies against the FGM scourge in the country, explained that though some of the state governments have good policies and laws, they have been slow in follow-up and implementation.
The Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Enugu, Dr. Ibrahim Conteh, spoke during a sub-zonal media briefing in commemoration of the 2019 International Day of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting organised by FGN/UNICEF Programme of Co-operation (2018-2022) in collaboration with Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA).
The UNICEF boss noted that though there have been recorded successes in curtailing the menace in both states of Ebonyi and Imo through their programmes, more efforts should be made to put an end to it.
He further charged the media to step up in their campaign by increasing the awareness on FGM, adding that though there has been political will by the government, it will amount to nothing if the political will is not translated into action.
According to him most states have passed FGM into law but until now no one has been prosecuted or jailed, while also pleading with both corporate bodies and government at all levels to join hands with UNICEF to totally eradicate FGM in the country.
Conteh noted that the practice of FGM remains a social norm that was being fuelled by myths, preconceptions and diverse ignorance about social expectations, adding that FGM is a violation of woman’s reproduction rights, puts her life at risk and is harmful to not only to her but also to her unborn child.
“As you may be aware now, FGM is one of the most harmful prevailing practices known to the human race since the end of the era of human practices like human sacrifice, killing of twins and slavery.
“The harmful practice of FGM has endured generations, tolerated and in certain ways promoted due to multiple factors of preconceptions and pluralistic ignorance” he said.
Addressing participants at the one-day event, the Communication Officer, UNICEF, Enugu, Mrs. Ijeoma Onuoha-Ogwe said the objective of the programme was to create public awareness on female genital mutilation with the media being a driving force by spreading the message to the public.
“The programme is an avenue where all stakeholders come together especially those from the media to deliberate on issues affecting the awareness on FGM, provide solutions and assist both physically and mentally girl child,” she emphasised.