From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has said over two million girls were at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) across 36 states of Nigeria.
its Country Director (Nigeria), Ulla Elizabeth Mueller, raised the alarm in her submission during a two-day webinar conference tagged: ‘No time for global inaction: Unite fund and act to end female genital mutilation” organised HACEY Health Initiative, a non-governmental organisation, in commemoration of the 2021 International day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation.
Mueller, however, called for synergy among critical stakeholders to end FGM in the country.
Wife of Ekiti Governor, Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, said the state had adopted local solutions to eliminate FGM by introducing ‘drop the blade for wealth’ saying the initiative had led to the empowerment of 120 women who dropped genital mutilation tools for sustainable empowerment.
Wife of Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ooni of Ife, Olori Silekunola Ogunwusi, emphasised the need to address illiteracy in the society so that people could be liberated from the shackles of poverty. She said this would help achieve zero-tolerance for FGM in Nigeria.
Commissioner for Health, Oyo State, Dr. Bashir Bello, described FGM as a societal problem which was being enabled by poverty, illiteracy and dearth of adequate information.
“Seven-year jail term has been prescribed as penalty for anyone who mutilates. But parents of victims don’t cry out. In Oyo we have been focusing on the mothers and grandmothers who see FGM as a thing of honour to let them know that the practice is a crime,” he said.
Commissioner of Police in Osun State, Olokode Olawale, called on citizens to report cases of abuses on the girl child and others to the police.