Anti- Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) advocates have called for collective efforts among relevant stakeholders towards eradicating FGM in Nigeria.
The advocates made the call during an online meeting which was organized by the Lagos State Chapter of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, in commemoration of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, themed : “No Time for Global Inaction: Unite, Fund, and Act to End Female Genital Mutilation.”
Costly Aderibigbe, a survivor and an advocate, shared experiences of how she has been able to reach out to people in the rural area of Osun State, educating and enlightening them on the danger of FGM and why they don’t have to get involved.
She disclosed that, “FGM is deeply rooted in culture and data on FGM awareness has greatly increased, people in the communities know what FGM is all about and they now advocate against it.”
Aderibigbe, who is also the founder of Value Female Network, added that young people need to get involved in advocating against FGM because it has numerous complications.
“FGM has other complications, and the impact of FGM on sexual health of a woman is very bad. Young people need to get involve in ending FGM”, she added.
Dr. Oluwatosin Somefun, Health expert with United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, who had worked in Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Imo, Rivers, and Bayelsa states on Sexual and Reproductive health issues, affirmed that 20% of women from age 15 to 49 have gone through the pain of mutilation. She also emphasized that women who had gone through these should be seen as survivors and not victims.
Dr. Somefun also advised that the media to always speak up on these issues to curb the menace which most times lead to the death of young girls. According to her, the media should use their “pen and voice to ask people to be accountable”. There should be naming and shaming for the perpetrators of the act.
She also encouraged NAWOJ to support and partner with UNFPA in other areas of Sexual and Reproductive Health.
Also speaking at the event, Alhaja Sururat Oyero, renounced cutter, stressed that, putting an end to FGM in Nigeria requires a collective work of the religious and traditional leaders.
While giving her closing remark, the Chairperson, NAWOJ Lagos State chapter, Comrade Adeola Ekine called on members to give prominence to stories on FGM and other issues relating to women and girls in their reportage as a way to also help push for gender friendly policies, strong health institutions and bring offenders to book in the country.