THE United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Nigeria Country Representative, Ms Ulla Mueller says female genital mutilation (FGM) is a violation of women’s right and democracy because it prevents women from being able to fully play their roles at home and in the society.
Mueller spoke at a UNFPA supported FGM community engagement by Centre for Population and Reproductive Health (CPRH), University of Ibadan, in collaboration with the Oyo State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Poverty Alleviation, at Akinyele Local Government Area, in Oyo State.
She stated that FGM kills women in large numbers and increases the risk of children being orphans during delivery, making its stoppage a win-win for the society stay wealthier by improving the quality of life of mothers, families and livelihood of their children.
Mueller said FGM is like sewing the lips of a woman up to prevent hearing her voice without anaesthesia and loosening the stitches at marriage to ensure the woman can procreate and also subsequently requiring further cut to let the child be born.
According to her, “such women again will require to be cut to deliver their babies; they bleed excessively during childbirth. Women die in higher numbers that have been cut. It also increases the risk of your children being orphans. We need to be honest about FGM and what we are doing to the girl-child.”
CPRH’s Director, Professor Dosu Ojengbede in an opening remark said that the UNFPA funded project had resulted in the declaration of FGM abandonment and setting up of surveillance team by 10 communities and an additional 21 communities initiating the process of FGM abandonment.
He said in reducing medicalisation of FGM and providing care for the management of its complications had trained 300 healthcare workers in 73 health facilities and over 20,000 women and girls reached and has accessed services.
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Alhaja Fausat Sanni, said FGM is an archaic practice with harmful effects on women and girls that need the consensus of religious and community leaders, healthcare workers and individuals in the community to be stopped.
Alhaja Sanni, speaking through Director of Poverty Alleviation at the women’s ministry, Dr Esther Fashona, said in stopping FGM, the state government has enforcement agents in the community and reviewing the state’s violence against person’s law at the state’s house of assembly.
She, however, urged community and religious leaders to continue to speak against FGM everywhere to know that the practice should be stopped as well as health workers counsel mothers and grandmothers on the evil effects of FGM.
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