Nigeria accounts for 10 per cent at an estimated 19.9 million of 200 million girls and women affected by female genital mutilation (FGM) worldwide.
The UNICEF Country Representative, Ms. Cristian Munduate, disclosed this during the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, organised by the wife of Kwara State governor, Ambassador Olufolake AbdulRazaq, in Ilorin, the state capital on Tuesday.
Munduate said that Nigeria holds the third-highest number of women and girls who have undergone female genital mutilation around the world.
She added that despite a slight decrease in prevalence of FGM in the country, recent data showed the practice remains widespread in Kwara State.
“FGM prevalence is highest among
women aged 15-49, reaching 58 per cent and for the 0-14 age bracket, it stands at 35 per cent. This
means approximately one in every three girls experienced Female Genital Mutilation.
“We must act with a collective commitment to change to address this issue comprehensively.
“UNICEF, along with our sister agency, UNFPA, have co-led the largest global programme on the elimination of FGM aligning with the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“This year’s theme: ‘Her Voice. Her Future. Investing in Survivors-Led Movements to End Female Genital Mutilation’, resonates with the journey we collectively embark upon to eradicate this harmful practice. In every survivor’s voice lies a testament to resilience, courage, and the unwavering spirit to shape a different future,” she stated.
In her remarks, the wife of the Kwara State governor, Ambassador Olufolake AbdulRazaq, enjoined traditional and religious leaders as the custodians of people’s culture, faith and tradition, to join in the drive to ensure that the harmful practice was phased out from the communities.
“As revered citizens, I commend our traditional and religious leaders for their support for the programmes and activities of the government and I sincerely urge your royal highnesses to extend this support to our quest to end this practice,” she said.
She enjoined the media “to actively engage in the dissemination of relevant information in this regard in clear and understandable form to dissuade people from engaging in this harmful practice.”
Mrs. Abdulrazaq also said that in meeting the global target of ending female genital mutilation by the year 2030, stakeholders needed to redouble efforts and ensure that all hands stay on deck.
“It is in the light of this that I commend UNIC0EF for this remarkable partnership and shared commitment towards ending all harmful practices that may deter our women and girls from reaching their full potentials in all facets of life,” she added.