By Asma’u Ahmad
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said it is partnering with the Federal Government through a special response programme to end Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in six states.
UNFPA Gender Specialist, Mrs. Nkiru Igbokwe who disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja, said the programme would be implemented in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Federal
Ministry of Health, and Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
Mrs. Igbokwe said that 40 communities in Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Lagos, Osun and Oyo states, where the FGM/C practice is widely practice are being targeted under the programme.
She said: “The programme seeks to achieve abandonment of FGM/C practice in Nigeria soonest, even though there is no stipulated deadline to end the practice in Nigeria, because FGM/C is a behavioural practice that needs long time to change.
“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.
According to her an assessment of the situation in Ebonyi state shows that women encourage the practice because they like it, but on the other hand men are against it.
On his part, Head of Gender, Adolescent and Elderly Matters at the ministry of health, Dr. Christopher Ugboko said FGM/C deprives women from achieving sexual satisfaction and violates their human rights.
Dr. 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