Reps mulls jail term, fine for female circumcision
The House of Representatives has passed the second reading of a Bill for an Act to amend the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 to increase the penalty for the offence of female genital mutilation.
Rep. Ganiyu Johnson (APC-Lagos), who sponsored the bill during plenary in Abuja on Wednesday, sought imprisonment of four years or a fine not exceeding N200,000 for any person who performs female genital mutilation
He further said that anyone who engaged another to carry out such circumcision must face the same consequence.
In his lead debate, Johnson said anyone who carried out such circumcision or mutilation committed an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment.
This according to him should not exceed five years or a fine not exceeding N1 million or both”.
He said an amendment of the existing section would go a long way in deterring persons from engaging in the unwholesome practice of female genital mutilation.
“A UNICEF survey recently revealed that in Nigeria, one out of four girls and one out of 10 boys suffers from sexual molestation and about one out of 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
“Among factors that encourage the commission of such unwholesome practices like female genital mutilation is lack of adequate sanctions.”
He said female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, excision or genital cutting, comprises all procedures that involved partial or total removal of the external female genitalia.
He further said it also includes other injuries to the genital organs for non-medical reasons, mostly carried out between infancy and age 15.
According to him, the procedure has no health benefits for girls and women because it is usually performed without permission and often against will.
He said the such practice violates girls’ right to make important decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.