UNFPA partners FG to end FGM/C in 40 communities
The United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) says it is partnering the Federal Government through a special response programme to end Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Nigeria.
Mrs Nkiru Igbokwe, the UNFPA Gender Specialist, disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
She said that the programme would be implemented in collaboration with UNICEF, Federal Ministry of Health, and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
Igbokwe said that 40 communities in six states where the FGM/C practice is widely practice are being targeted under the programme.
According to her, the programme seeks to achieve abandonment of FGM/C practice in Nigeria soonest; adding “we put a target of 40 communities where the practice widely practices’’.
The official listed the target states as Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Lagos, Ebonyi, Imo and Lagos.
However, she explained that the programme has no stipulated deadline to end the practice in Nigeria.
Igbokwe noted that FGM/C is a behavioural practice that needs long time to change.
She recalled that the programme started in 2014.
“We want to accelerate the abandonment of the practice within the period of the partnership and we need more time and resources to end the practice completely in Nigeria,’’ said Igbokwe.
She also noted that there were legislations in many states against the practice of FGM/C, but people go underground to perform the practice.
“We will go down to the communities and get their consensus to stop the behaviour that promotes FGM/C.
“We will work closely with the traditional and religious institutions to discourage the practice.
“This is because evidence had shown that grandmothers and mother in-laws encourage it more.
“We want men to be interested in the move to end the practice and show more displeasure to it and the practice will stop,’’ she said.
For instance, she said: “Our assessment of the situation in Ebonyi state show that women encourage the practice because they like it, but on the other hand men do not want FGM.
` `The men and women are not working and talking together on the issue.
“The Joint FGM/C programme comes up with to promote inter-generational dialogue, where men and women will discuss the issue together’’.
On his part, Dr Christopher Ugboko, Head of Gender, Adolescent and Elderly Matters, Federal Ministry of Health, also said FGM/C deprives women from achieving sexual satisfaction and violates their human rights.
Ugboko said that the ministry was recently involved in a UN programme on FGM and had conducted a survey to tackle its challenges starting from year 2002 to date.
According to him, 13 states in the federation have legislation on FGM/C but the states lacked the political will for the implementation of the law.
He said part of the measures to contain the practice by the ministry of health is the anti-medicalisation of the practice.
“The Ministry of Health frowns at the practice which some doctors administer in clinics to discourage the practice,’’ he said.