Shocking: Kaduna leads in FGM in the north – Report

Kaduna state is said to have the highest num­ber of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) cases in northern Nigeria, the 2018 National Demographic Sur­vey (NDS), has revealed.

This, according to many, re­mains a puzzle because, Ka­duna is among the states that have invested heavily in its health sector since the com­ing in of the Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai-led administration.

Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting or female cir­cumcision, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), is any procedure that involves partial or total removal of the external gen­italia and/or injury to the fe­male genital organs whether for cultural or any other non­therapeutic reasons.

It is the violation of the fun­damental human rights of the affected person. It is mostly rooted in beliefs and percep­tions

According to the 2018 NDHS, among the 19 north­ern states, Kaduna leads with 49 per cent, followed by Kwara 46 percent while Jigawa, 34; Kano 22 and Yobe 14 per cent. Gombe and Adamawa both have less one per cent preva­lent rates.

Responding to questions from our Correspondent at a 2-day media dialogue on data driven reporting and dissem­ination of Nigeria Demo­graphic and Health Survey (NDHS) with selected jour­nalists, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, yester­day, Planning and Monitor­ing Specialist with the United Nations Children Fund (UNI­CEF), Maureen Zubie Okolo, advocated for the involvement of traditional rulers in order end the ugly practice in the country.

Responding to questions on the Kaduna puzzle, she said: “We are looking at the pattern across the north and Kaduna state stood out as having the higher percentage than all the other states.

“Because FGM is mostly en­shrine in culture, my question is what is exactly happening in Kaduna state for which FGM is persistently high? May be, it is part of the culture of the people.

“We need to interrogate the data. We need to involve in­vestigative journalism to know exactly what is happening in the state that is causing the constant rise in FGM cases. Is it cultural or a belief system that promotes it?”

She disclosed that the preva­lence of FGM nationally is de­creasing.

“If you look at FGM na­tionally, it is actually decreas­ing because in the 2013 DHS, states like Ebonyi and Imo in the south east were very high, but they are coming down.

“This is because there has been a lot advocacy and a lot of the traditional rulers are now committing to signing to stop FGM in their domains.

“There is a lot of progress. Many of the wives of the gov­ernors in the south east, par­ticular, Ebonyi and Imo have taken it as a project to con­tinue the sensitization and the push for these traditional rulers to support FGM to be stopped in all communities.”

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