UNICEF wants more action against female circumcision

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Regis Anukwuoji/Enugu.

UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Education Fund) has appealed to all stakeholders, particularly the media, to step up  campaign on awareness creation and sensitization of the society to ensure zero tolerance in the practice of Female Genital Mutilation and cutting (FGM/C).

Abraham Conteh ,Chief of Unicef Field Office made the appeal in Enugu during a one day dialogue with Journalists and Media Practitioners from south east on the Female Genital Mutilation and cutting with the Theme “Unleashing Youth Power” in commemoration of 2020 International day of zero tolerance to FGM, Organised by Unicef and Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State.

Conteh noted that Ebonyi and IMO states in the south eastern Nigeria have maintained very high prevalence rates of 61.7% and 53.2% respectively which he said are well above the national prevalence average rate at 20%..

The UNICEF Chief of Field Office, explained that all investigations proved that FGM/C has no benefit to the women and young girls, saying that girls who undergo female genital mutilation face-term complications such as sever pains, shock, excessive bleeding, infections and difficulty in passing urine,as well as long- term consequences for their sexual and reproductive health and mental health.

According to Conteh, FGM comprises all the procedure that involved altering or injuring the female genitalia for non medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights, the health and integrity of girls and women.

“UNICEF is using the opportunity presented by this years international FGM day to urge stakeholders to accelerate steps towards stopping this practice, by adopting coordinate and systematic efforts , promoting polices and positive actions leading to the elimination of female genital mutilation, while engaging communities with focus on human rights, gender equality, sexual education and attention to the needs of women and girls who suffer from its consequences” He said.

He also explained that ” the 2018 NDIHS reveals 19% of girls age 0-14 are circumcised, Seventeen percent of these girls are circumcised before their first birthday .FGM among girls is most common among girls whose mother are cut(56%) whose mothers have no education (24%), and those from poorest households (27%), .FGM among girls is most commonly performed by traditional circumcisers (82%), while 7% are performed by medical professionals .Seventeen percent of women age 15-49 believe that their religion requires FGM. Two-third of women believes that the practice should be stopped.

Earlier Anyaso Anyaso, Director General Broad casting corperation Abia state described FGM as a human right violation against girls and women, a harmful practice which has severe health consequence on women.

He called for coordinated and systematic efforts to engage communities and focus on human right, gender equality etc.

Resources persons are Chidi Ezinwa lecture at the Enugu state university of Science and Technology, Department of Mass communication who extensively spoke on child right Reporting the do and don’t. Ijeoma Onuoha Ogwe, Communication officer, Unicef Enugu spoke on the objective and outcome of the meeting while the consultant Child Protection specialist UNICEF Enugu spoke on FGM in Nigerian, An overview of the situation. Other stakeholders in attendance were female students from Qeens School Enugu.

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