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.”