By Ignatius Okorocha
Former Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Biodun Olujimi, yesterday sought the enforcement of legislation that have been put in place to protect the rights of women and girls against genital mutilation in Nigeria.
Olujimi, who represents Ekiti South Senatorial District, stated in a statement to mark the International Day for Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation that over millions of girls and women are still at the risk of the practice in the country.
She said, “Official statistics note that there is still high prevalence rate of female genital mutilation in Nigeria, with reports saying people now resort to seeking the services of health professionals, as opposed to traditional practitioners.
“Whichever practitioners chosen does not alter the fact that, this practice, rains dangerous and life changing, with life lasting mental and physical damage. Impediment to a fulfilling life and barrier to emotional stability bare also some of the side effects.
“Therefore, it is imperative that sensitisation and public awareness of this grievous harm to the bodies of girls and women must continue apace. The myth around this practice of being beneficial must be dismantled once for all. It is a health risk and damaging socio-cultural norm and must be denounced as such.
“Hand in hand with this, is the fact that policy and legislation that have been put in place to protect the rights of women and girls must be enforced and be seen to serve as a deterrent.
“Undoubtedly, there are millions of girls and women who are still at risk and this is why it behoves us all to speak out against this violation of right.
“As you are aware, I have sponsored a bill in the Senate called the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill which when passed into law, will help to deter would-be offenders.”
The former Minority Leader urged stakeholders like royal fathers, faith based organizations and women centered organizations to continue in their efforts to educate on how to stop mutilation and cut of girls and women in the country.