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UNICEF Raises Alarm Over High Rate Of Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria

By IGNATIUS OKPARA, Enugu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Worried by the dangers inherent in the practice of Female Genital Mutilation(FGM), and cutting among the girl child and women in Nigeria, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called on governments, civil society organisations traditional and religious leaders to join hands to end the ugly act.

Speaking to news men on in Enugu to mark the fourth coming world International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, Head of UNICEF Enugu Field Office, Mr. Charles Nzuki said FGM has serious negative consequences and impart on the girls.

According to him, UNICEF is supporting governments both at the federal and state levels and also working with civil society organisations to mobilize stake holders to end the scourge in Nigeria.

He said: “Basically on a local data in Nigeria, we have very high prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation in a number of states, the highest being Osun, which has 77 percent, followed by Ebonyi state with 74 percent.

He disclosed that Nigerian Demographic health survey has revealed that, other states with very high rate include Ekiti, Imo in south east Nigeria and Oyo”, in the West.

Nzuki, emphasised that seven or even close to eight out of every 10 women have had FGM, hence UNICEF is working with government to eradicate it as a result of its harmful effect on women, noting that UNICEF sees it as a violation of women’s right and that  of girls.

He further said that although it was a national campaign, UNICEF was working hard to create extra awareness in those states with very high prevalence rate, Pointing out that Monday February 6 UNICEF would do a major event in Ebonyi state, where the wife of the governor will host the programme on ending female Genital mutilation campaign in the state.

“You recall that last year the wife of the president launched a campaign to end female genital mutilation in the country and UNICEF has been working with the state governments”.

Apart from the major event coming up in Ebonyi state, he said UNICEF is also  working with Osun and Ekiti states and other states in south west where high rate of FGM are noticed.

“They are quite a number of harmful effects of FGM on women especially on  their health.

“It is a major contributor of maternal mortality rate, it causes severe bleeding, sometimes resulting to death.

“Other health problems includes cysts , infection , infertility as well as complications among others.

“One of the key interesting things that I think is importance to mention is everywhere we have gone even with the engagement of the traditional rulers they emphasised that this is not part of the culture that they wants to retain”.

Also in a release UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Mohamed Fall, had stressed that “Every study and every bit of evidence we have shows there is absolutely no benefit, be it developmental, health or religion, to mutilate or cut for non-medical reasons any girl or women”.

It would be recalled that last year, Imo state had a similar event.

 

 

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