Felix Uka, Abakaliki
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) will completely end in Nigeria in 2030 says Chief of Field Office, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Enugu, Dr. Ibrahim Conteh.
Conteh explained that though successes are being recorded in the reduction of the harmful practice, the expectation is that it would be eradicated by 2030.
The UNICEF Chief said that achieving the target of abolition of the practice requires legislations against it, collaborations, partnership and commitment of various stakeholders including various tiers of government, as well as the media.
Conteh stated this yesterday at Bayview Hotel , Independent Layout Enugu on the occasion of zonal media briefing in commemoration of 2020 International Day of FGM/C in South Eastern Nigeria.
On the state of affairs regarding the practice in some states in the Field Office, UNICEF Enugu, he explained that, “In Imo, Ebonyi states, we have challenges, but the figures for Abia, Anambra are less. Though they have made progress, the figures in Imo and Ebonyi are not what we want”.
“Ebonyi and Imo states in South Eastern Nigeria have maintained very high prevalence rate of 61.7 % and 53.2% respectively well above the national prevalence average rate at 20%”, he disclosed.
He said that 2018 NDHD revealed that 19% of girls, age 0-4 are circumcised and that 17 percent of these girls are circumcised before their first birthday.
“We consider the media always as a very powerful partner that is why we have to arrange this meeting, we need more commitment to end this practice because there is nothing beneficial from it, it is harmful, it can cause a woman not to give birth and can cause death”, he stated.
Conteh said that the efforts to end the practice is gradual and progressive, noted that in Sudan there were cases where some persons went to court challenging the moves to end the practice, but that with time they understood the need to end the tradition.
“UNICEF, indeed, UN frown at this practice because there is no benefit in FGM/C, so we started campaigns to discourage it. In a certain country, some issues were taken to court. So, it was a strong fight by those who felt it was their culture. We brought in traditional leaders and educated them on the negative effects. We even took some abroad because if you convince them you get others. That is why we are where we are. We are holding this dialogue because when you write or talk that has the power to change things”, he stated.
“This year’s theme is: Unleashing Youth Power. The youths will take over from us, so it is necessary we involve them, prepare good future for the youths”.
Director General of Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State, Mr. Anyaso Anyaso in his remarks at the event said that the practice is a gross abuse of the rights of female children, noted that FGM/C comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognised internationally as a violation of human rights, the health and the integrity of girls and women.