Over 200 million girls have passed through Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) worldwide while two million others were at risk of the phenomenon. In Nigeria, South East has the highest prevalent rate with Imo and Ebonyi leading in the practice.
Programme Officer of Coalition of Eastern Non-Governmental Organizations(CENGOs), Imo state, Esther Okeke disclosed this during a workshop on strengthening support to end FGM organised by Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre(CIRDDOC) in collaboration with Ebonyi and Imo state chapters of CENGOs with support from Amplify Change.
Okeke who described FGM as a harmful practice that was banned in 2017 by World Health Organisation(WHO), said Osun state has the highest prevalent of the practice in the country with 78 per cent. “FGM is a harmful practice and this was banned in 2017 by WHO. It is an age-long practice that started many years ago, it is estimated that over 200 million girls have been circumcised and two milion are still at risk of being circumcised according to demographic health survey. “FGM is practiced in Middle East, Asia and Africa.
In Africa, it is estimated that over 28 countries practice it including Nigeria. “For Nigeria, South east is the highest with 49 per cent, South West is 47.5 per cent, South South 45. 8 per cent, North West 20.7 per cent. Osun State has the highest prevalent which is about 78 per cent, while Imo and Ebonyi follow suits. For Ebonyi, it is estimated at 64 per cent while for Imo, it is 74 per cent,” she said. In her remarks, Ebonyi State Coordinator of CENGOs, Mrs. Nancy Oko-Onya said FGM is becoming rape now with most of the victims forced into it against their wish.
She regretted that the practice has not be given much attention which she said was why it was still being done in many communities despite various laws prohibiting it. She therefore called for concerted efforts to end the practice. Chairman, House Committee on Health in Ebonyi State House of Assembly and member representing Imo state constituency, Hon. Oliver Ossi said most of the parents that are involved in FGM have not known the practical disadvantages of the practice. He said some laws passed by some state Houses of Assembly were hurriedly passed without necessary inputs by relevant stakeholders which according to him makes mockery in the fight against FGM.
“Our people needs to know that this practice is harmful, unbiblical and unlawful. We have to fight this monster to make sure that this thing is completely wiped out from our planet. If not, our children will still come and continue to practice it,” he said.