Nigeria, International Community, Others Commit to End FGM

Gloria Essien, Abuja

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Nigerian government, international community, major stakeholders and Non Governmental Organisations have committed to ending Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria.

 

The commitment was made at the “Launch of the Movement For Good to End Female Genital Mutilation, “ in Abuja.

 

Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Paullen Tallen, says Female Genital Mutilation is evil and must be stopped.

 

She said that following the reassurances and commitment of traditional rulers, it is possible to end FGM in Nigeria.

 

“There is no way that Female Genital Mutilation can ever be properly done. It is condemnable. It is a crime against humanity and I pray that all of gathered here should leave this hall as ambassadors towards zero tolerance of FGM,” Mrs Tallen said.

 

She said that the launch of the movement was a defining moment towards ending the menace.

 

“FGM is a traditional practice inflicted on girls and women worldwide and it is widely recognised as a violation of human rights, which is deeply rooted in cultural  belief and perceptions over decades and generations. The procedure involves the total removal of the partial or total external female genital causing injuries to the female genital organ. In places where it is practiced, it is seen as a right of passage of the girl child to womanhood. And this is encouraged by family members in the fear and belief of social societal sanctions,” the minister said.

 

She noted that science has proven that FGM has no health benefit to the girl child.

” Statistics has shown that Nigeria has the highest number of cases of FGN in the world accounting for about one hundred and fifteen million out of one hundred and thirty million circumcised women worldwide. That south south zone with 77% amongst adult women has the highest prevalence practice in Nigeria. This is followed by the south east zone with 68% and the south west zone with 65%. The northern part of Nigeria also is not totally free this practice but is very very limited“. She said.

 

The minister pointed out that eliminating FGM was crucial to realising many of the SDGs.

 

She also called for intensified advocacy to all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria.

 

Mrs Tallen stated that the present administration, knowing the dangers associated with FGM to women and girls is committed to ending it.

 

The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann, said that at least 200 women worldwide have undergone genital mutilation and more might be affected in the coming years.

 

She said that FGN contravenes the rights of women.

 

“Indeed to promote the elimination of this scourge, coordinated and systematic efforts involving everyone are needed,” Blatmann said.

 

She noted that France has made the fight against FGN a priority of it’s feminist Diplomacy.

 

The U.S. Ambassador to  Nigeria, Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard said that FGM harms women and girls across the continent and the US is working with its partners around the world to eliminate all forms of gender based violence including FGM.

 

She said that the US has been steadfast in its partnership with Nigeria.

 

The Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Juan Ignacio Sell, said that communities and traditional leaders hold the keys to finally change the narrative.

 

The UN Coordinator to Nigeria, Mathias Schmate, said that all hands must be on deck to end FGM in Nigeria.

He said that UN agencies charged with responsibility of providing care and support to children will continue to advocate for end to FGM.

The First Counselor Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Alex Gomez, said that women forms more that have of the world’s population and FGM is a painful and shameful subject.

According to the Youths Conditioner of the Global Youths Consortium, Dr. Costly Aderibigbe, Nigeria might not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of FGM is not stopped.

 The launch of the Movement For Good To End FGM is expected to galvanize action towards ending Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria before 2030.

Lateefah Ibrahim

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