Nigerian State Declares War On Female Genital Mutilation


The Nigerian state of Oyo has declared war on the prevalent cultural practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). FGM is classified as procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genital organs for non-medical reasons. By declaring 'zero tolerance' of this dangerous cultural practice of mutilating girls, the Nigerian state exposes the challenges women face across the region.

FGM is globally recognized as a violation of human rights. This procedure is typically carried out on young girls between newborns to age 15. More than 200 million girls and women are alive today who have endured being cut, most commonly in many countries of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.  FGM is viewed as an extreme form of discrimination against women and reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes.

Dr. Millicent Ogun, a state representative of the Center for Population and Reproductive Health (CPRH), made a public declaration speaking out against the practice of FGM at the Female Child Harmful Traditional Practices event, a community engagement of traditional religious leaders held in villages across Western Nigeria. He seeks to eliminate the dangerous practice of FGM, adding that "the various breakages and the aftermath of untold consequences and challenges accumulating daily with the highest records call for concern." As reported by Dr. Ogun, FGM is one of the primary causes of broken homes affecting females. He considers FGM to be a shockingly common reason for divorce, marital disappointments, difficulty in labor during childbirth, lack of sexual urge, many health disorders in the affected genitalia. He adds that according to reproductive health professionals, this harmful practice holds a high percentage of the reasons for separation among affected spouses.

Dr. Bushrat Oloso, the state president for the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), stated that "to end female genital mutilation, we must do these three things: Educate the entire society on the aftermath, consequences, ill-health attached, disadvantages and untold challenges unknown to all. Secondly, information and advocacy projects and raising voluminous public awareness on what victims of FGM face daily in their marriages." Dr. Oloso also remarked that the essence of advocacy visits with health workers and educators, circumcisers, religious leaders and traditional birth attendants, is to give training. Some young adults were trained as FGM surveillance teams and community champions to conduct door-to-door advocacy to households, with the end goal of terminating FGM.

Alhaja Omowunmi Ogungbenro, the coordinator of FOMWAN Project 2020, presented the communities with FGM community champions certificates while delivering the project scope and review. The program was a collaborative effort between the government and the Nigerian State chapter of FOMWAN, with support from the Center for Population and Reproductive Health (CPRH) and United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA).

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