No fewer than 20 million children and women are victims of Female Genital Mutilation(FGM) in the country.
A Gender Desk Officer at the Ekiti State Ministry of Health, Mrs Oluwakemi Akinleye, gave the revelation in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday, during a Stop Cut Project capacity building for Media Practitioners in Ekiti State.
Akinleye during her presentation said: “A national survey carried out in 2018 and still operational reveals that about 19.9 million children and women have been victims of female genital cut. This number to us is alarming.
“Going by this scientific survey, the victims are within the age range of 15 and 49, a situation that has psychological, emotional, sexual and psycho traumatic stress disorder on their wellbeing.
“FGM is a bad practice, whether it is done traditionally or medically. Medicalization of FGM, that is the ones being done by doctors, nurses and other health officials do not make the practice healthy and save”.
Mrs Akinleye warned parents to desist from FGM which is still in practice in the African continent, Nigeria in particular, saying such has caused a lot of damage to the lives of women.
She revealed that Ekiti has the highest level of prevalence rate in the southwest, with Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Osun States trailing in that order.
“Ekiti has a 72.9 percent prevalence rate in the southwest. But due to political will, it has reduced to 57.9 percent and the sensitisation and advocacy by stakeholders must continue to be able to win the war.
“In Ekiti, local governments like Ikere, Ido/Osi, Ikole, Ekiti West and Ekiti Southwest have been identified as having the highest prevalence rate with Ekiti West having the highest which is 85.2 percent”.
Akinleye, however, expressed fear that the emerging mindset that the FGM will be successful and without consequences, if performed by medical experts, is becoming a major impediment to the war against FGM in the country.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, Gender Relevance Initiative Promotion(GRIP), Barr. Rita Ilevbare, advised stakeholders, including government, civil society and non-governmental organisations to intensify efforts to stop FGM to safeguard the lives of Nigerian children and women.
Ilevbare said that enormous sensitisation must be done on the issue of the legal process, litigation awaiting FGM offenders to dissuade them from carrying out such unhealthy task.
“FGM has no advantage, it ruins people’s lives. Every successive government must have the political will to be able to harness all resources and set up the legal framework that would help in checkmating the practitioners, this remains the best way to make people safe from childhood to adulthood”.