After UN report, 12 Osun communities renounce female circumcision

Efforts at eradicating the female genital mutilation, FGM, in Osun received a boost on Tuesday as 12 communities across four local governments declared their intentions to completely stop the practice.

The declaration was made at the Female Mutilation Abandonment Declaration Ceremony organised by the Shericare Foundation, SCARF, an initiative of the wife of the governor, Sherifat Aregbesola.

The communities that declared against FMG include Eko Ende, Eko Ajala, Iba, Asa, Iwo Oke, Ajagunlase, Alapata, Owode, Araromi in Ifelodun, Olaoluwa, Ede North and Orolu Logal Governments of the state.

The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, in its report on FGM, said that Osun State still ranked highest in the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation practice in Nigeria with over 76.3 per cent.

The UN said the practice was high in the South-West in spite of the geo-political zone’s high literacy and awareness rate.

According to the report, Osun had 76.3 per cent prevalence rate, Ekiti had 71.2, Oyo, 69.7; Ebonyi, 55.6; Imo, 48.8; and Lagos, 44.8.

Governor Rauf Aregbesola described Female Genital Mutilation, a cultural practice of removing part of the female genital either as a customary rite of initiation into womanhood or as a check against promiscuity, as harmful.

He said that the harmful practice according to UNICEF is prevalent in developing countries, especially in Africa and Asia.

“According to a February 2016 report by United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), there are records for 27 countries in Africa, including Somalia (96 per cent), Guinea (97 per cent), Djibouti (93 per cent), Egypt (91 per cent) and Sierra Leone (90 per cent) still practising FGM. From this same report, we learnt that as of 2013, 27.2 million women had undergone FGM in Egypt, 23.8 million in Ethiopia, and 20 million in Nigeria. In Indonesia, the prevalence rate for children under 11 years is 49 per cent, translating to 13.4 million,” the governor stated.

“In Nigeria, six states top the list of where the practice is prevalent. These are Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Ebonyi, Imo and Lagos. FGM is deeply rooted in culture but flies in the face of common sense, decency, basic health and human right.

“The crux of this advocacy is to expunge it from our belief system. I am glad that we have the cooperation of our traditional rulers, religious leaders, community leaders and aficionados of arts and culture.

“The core changes must include that: one, it is no longer necessary as a cultural requirement, two, that it is indeed harmful and cruel physically and psychologically. The victims, we must note, are our daughters, sisters, aunties, cousins, nieces, wives and mothers.

“I do not see any other category closer and dearer to us than these and therefore do not deserve to be subjected to this hurtful practice any longer.”

The president of the Foundation, Mrs. Aregbesola, reaffirmed the organisation’s commitment to achieving zero tolerance on Female Genital Mutilation/Circumcision in the state.

She said the Foundation had engaged in many activities towards boosting the awareness campaigns to end the harmful effects of Female Genital Mutilation and Circumcision in every nook and cranny of the state.

She further said her foundation had also committed itself to intensive advocacy to eradicate the traditional practice of FGM in the state through regular interface with a number of communities, public sensitisation, jingles sponsorship on radio, television stations as well as printing and circulation of the state law which makes it illegal for anyone to circumcise any female child or any woman in the state.

“The journey to today’s event started early 2015 when a team of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) officials visited our state as the meeting afforded us the opportunity to appreciate the necessity of collective efforts to wage an intensive and comprehensive awareness campaign on the dangers that continued practice of female circumcision bear for our female children, our women and our people in general,” she explained.

“It is true that the practice of female circumcision was rooted in traditional and religious beliefs, but scientific findings have revealed that such beliefs are injurious to life.”

Mrs. Aregbesola attributed the public declaration of abandonment of FGM by twelve communities in the state as a manifestation of the efforts being made by the Foundation to abolish the menace.

She therefore appealed to the residents in the state to always abstain from the acts, saying female circumcision does not bear any positive fruit but rather a basket of dangers and sometimes death to the women.

Earlier, the guest speaker and the Head of Lagos Liaison Office, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Omolaso Omosehin, commended Governor Aregbesola for his continued support towards eradication of Female Genital Mutilation in the state.

He said the contribution of the state government had impacted positively towards putting an end to Female Genital Mutilation.

He described the occasion as timely, saying the forum was a reflection of symbolic commitment demonstrated by the state government of Osun to end Female Genital Mutilation and other forms of harmful traditional practices that impact negatively on women and girls.

Osun state records highest prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – UNFPA

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Thursday said that Osun still recorded highest prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria with over 76.3 per cent.

Damilola Obinna, a Gender Analyst with UNFPA, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that FGM was high in the South-West in spite of the geo-political zone’s high literacy and awareness rate.

Mrs. Obinna said the statistics was arrived at after a survey was carried out by UNFPA in collaboration with UNICEF in 2015.

“After data collation and analysis, we discovered that Osun had 76.3 per cent prevalence rate, Ekiti had 71.2, Oyo, 69.7; Ebonyi, 55.6; Imo, 48.8; and Lagos, 44.8.

“There is no single benefit in the practice of female genital mutilation; yet, the practice is high even among the educated.

“Aside from the immediate risks of FGM which includes haemorrhage, infections, and death, survivors of FGM are liable to present later in their lives recurring urinary tract infections, menstrual problems, reproductive tract infections, depression, sexual dysfunction and pain, and chronic genital pain.

“They are also at risk for several adverse complications for both mother and newborn during childbirth,’’ she said.

Mrs. Obinna said that in Lagos, the awareness of FGM was high but statistics showed that four out of 10 girls or women had undergone female genital mutilation.

She said that Lagos Island L.G.A. recorded the highest prevalence with 51.6 per cent while Somolu L.G.A. had the lowest prevalence with 20.9 per cent.

“We discovered that most Lagos indigenes don’t cut their girls but the people who moved into Lagos from Kwara, Osun, Oyo, Ondo, Ebonyi and some other states, moved in with their culture which includes FGM.

“These people who still practice FGM claimed that it is a social expectation that most be carried out and that it cannot be stopped,’’ she said.

Mr. Obinna urged state governments to enact laws that would prohibit FGM in their states.

She said the states could domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) of 2015.

She also urged governments to organise regular enlightenment programmes involving traditional, religious and community leaders to drive the message home.

“These people are role models in the society; people listen and emulate them; so, they must be fully involved in the total eradication of FGM,’’ Obinna said.

Engage In Female Genital Mutilation, Go To Jail– Aregbesola

Worried by the recent rating of Osun State as number one on the hierarchy of the six Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) most endemic states, the wife of Osun State Governor, Alhaja Sherifat Abidemi Aregbesola has warned perpetrators of the risk of going to jail.

Addressing a press conference in Osogbo, Alhaja Aregbesola  expressed  sadness that despite efforts being put in place to eradicate the practice, the recent rating by the National Demographic Heath Survey (NDHS) calls for drastic step to stem the ugly trend.

She vowed not to only continue to intensify campaign against the practice but ensure that whosoever is found culpable henceforth is brought to book.

Brandishing copies of the law of Osun State that prohibits the practice of FGM in the state, the First Lady said after the on-going campaign and widespread awareness in all the nooks and crannies of the state, violators would be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.

Alhaja Aregbesola further posited that FGM is also a violation of fundamental human rights as it is sometimes carried out at a very young age when there is no possibility of individual’s consent.

She noted that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), through a study, has confirmed that the practice of Female Genital Mutilation in the endemic states in Nigeria was only anchored on various traditional beliefs and the social pressure to conform to culture.

According to her, “documented studies have shown that the health implications of FGM range from dangerous infections arising from unsanitary conditions in which the practice is carried out to death through severe bleeding as well as pain and trauma as mutilated infants, girls and women face irreversible lifelong health risks among other consequences.”

Aregbesola noted that the reason adduced by those engaged in removal of the external female genitalia was not tenable and that they were just inflicting unwarranted lifelong trauma on the circumcised females and denying them sexual pleasure simply for cultural beliefs and tradition.

Credit: Leadership

Nigerian Genital Cutters Give Conditions For Ending Female Genital Mutilation

The Circumcision Descendants Association of Nigeria have advocated the provision of alternative means of livelihood for their members as a way of curbing Female Genital Mutilation practice in south-west Nigeria.

At a Summit? to End FGM in Nigeria held in Ibadan, Monday, the group said the FGM agenda would be difficult to achieve without the “full involvement” of their members.

“The practice of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) has generated heated debates in the international development arena as an issue linked to women’s rights and gender inequality,” said Abiola Ogundokun, Chairman, Board of Trustees, of CDAN.

“However, it is noteworthy that unknown to the NGOs and principal actors of the FGM campaign, the registered CDAN is equally committed to the same campaign and agenda of the United Nations as contained in our constitution.

“It is unfortunate that the desired efforts of the association have not been utilised for the successful advancement of the project in order to bring the act to an end. Hence the need of this timely proposed summit.”

Mr. Ogundokun, a magazine publisher and politician, said CDAN had made repeated attempts to collaborate with NGOs in the past but failed due to “lukewarm attitude of some of the NGOs.”

“To eradicate FGM from the South West zone of Nigeria and further penetrate other regions, we need to do a lot more. We should increase community awareness and knowledge on the health hazards associated with FGM.”

Scores of CDAN members across the South West, donning uniformed local attires inscribed with ‘Say No to FGM,’ attended Monday’s summit where they watched video clips on the hazards of female circumcision.

Mr. Ogundokun said several deliberations within the rank and file of CDAN membership had resulted in a majority decision for the approval of zero tolerance to FGM.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Gov. Aregbesola Calls For Eradication Of Female Genital Mutilation

Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has called on government at all levels to work towards total eradication of female genital mutilation in the country.

Aregbesola made the call at a Forum on Female Genital Mutilation organised by United Nations Fund for Population Activities(UNFPA), in collaboration with Shericare Foundation in Osogbo on Tuesday.

The governor commended former President Goodluck Jonathan for signing the Act prohibiting female genital mutilation in Nigeria.

According to Aregbesola, female genital mutilation is a bad practice borne out of primitive idea to continually dominate females in the society which must be stopped by all Nigerians.

“Everybody must work hard to ensure that the practice is done away with. Besides the damage it has done to women, it has created health challenges like acute urinary retention, delivery complications, among others.

“We have not established any scientific advantage let alone any religion supporting the practise. It is just an inhuman design to suppress the other sex.”

Sherifat, wife of the governor and President of Shericare Foundation, described female genital mutilation as primitive.

She said that if the practice continued, 2, 718, 000 girls born between 2010 and 2015 would be at risk of experiencing female genital mutilation by 2030.

Country Representative of UNFPA, Ms Ratidzai Ndhlovu, charged Osun Government to work and ensure the eradication of the practice.

She stressed that? Osun had the highest prevalence rate of 7.6 per cent, followed by Oyo state with 7.2per cent.

The UNFPA boss added that it was important for the wives of governors in the country and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance with the existing law on female genital mutilation.

Wife of Oyo State Governor, Florence Ajimobi, wife of Governor of Ekiti State, Feyi Fayose, representatives of wives of the Governors of Lagos, Imo and Ebonyi, were among dignitaries at the event.




Nigeria Senate Finally Passes Bill To Criminalize Female Genital Mutilation

The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday, passed Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Bill which seeks to prohibit female circumcision or genital mutilation, forceful ejection from home and harmful widowhood practices. The bill also prohibits abandonment of spouse, children and other dependents without sustenance, battery and harmful traditional practices.

The Bill was sponsored by the Leader of the Senate, Victor Ndoma-Egba. It is also intended to eliminate violence in private and public life and provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims of violence, and punishment of offenders.

The bill equally prohibits economic abuse, forced isolation and separation from family and friends,
substance attack, depriving persons of their liberty, incest, indecent exposure, among others.

In his remarks, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided at the session, said that the passage of the bill would provide adequate protection for the vulnerable in the society and punish those who take advantage of them.

He commended the senators and other stakeholders for their efforts in ensuring that the bill was passed, adding that it was a good step in the fight against violence in the society.

“The primary responsibility of government is to protect lives and property and as a responsible arm of government, our primary responsibility is to enact laws that will not only protect our people, but also protect their property.

“Today, we have discharged one of our responsibilities to the vulnerable in terms of violence. Congratulations for this achievement,’’ he said.

Credit – NAN.

UN Chief Launches Campaign to End Female Genital Mutilation

UN chief Ban Ki-moon launched Thursday a global campaign to end the often deadly practice of female genital mutilation within a generation, as survivors said it had “shattered” their lives.

 “The mutilation of girls and women must stop in this generation, our generation,” Ban said on a visit to the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

“Men and boys must also be encouraged to support the fight against FGM — and they should be praised when they do.”

FGM ranges from the hacking off of the clitoris to the mutilation and removal of the entire female genitalia, and is carried out from the youngest babies to teenagers.

More than 125 million women have been mutilated in 29 countries in Africa and Middle East, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which condemns the practice as a “violation of the human rights” of women.