The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has lamented the high rate of Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) in Southeast, describing it as worrisome.
UNICEF said Ebonyi and Imo states have a high prevalence rate of 61 per cent and 53.2 per cent, above the national average of 20 per cent.
Chief of Enugu Field Office Ibrahim Conte spoke at a one-day dialogue with reporters in Enugu. The dialogue was part of activities to mark this year’s International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), with its theme: ‘Unleashing Youth Power’.
Conte said the theme seeks active participation of youths in the fight against the harmful practice, with huge focus on mobilising youths towards its elimination. He described FGM as a human right violation against girls and women, which impacts negatively on their lives.
“It is a harmful practice which has severe health and psychological consequences. It severely affects the rights of women to reproductive health, emotional stability and wellbeing, and denies them the opportunity to fully utilise their potential for the socio-economic development of their society.
“The 2018 NDHS reveals that 19 per cent of girls are circumcised; 17 per cent circumcised before their first birthday, and this is most common among girls whose mothers are cut (56 per cent); whose mothers have no education (24 per cent); and those from the poorest households (27 per cent).
“FGM among girls is most commonly performed by a traditional cutter (82 per cent), while seven per cent is performed by a medical professional. Seventeen per cent of women between 15-49 years believe their religion requires FGM. Two-thirds of women believe the practice should be stopped.”
Conte urged stakeholders to accelerate steps towards ending the practice by adopting coordinated and systematic efforts, as well as promoting policies and positive actions.
He admonished engaging communities with focus on human rights, gender equality, sexual education to pay attention to the needs of women and girls who suffer its consequences.