By Muhammad Amaan
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called on stakeholders in the country to intensify efforts to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The UNICEF said Nigeria accounts for 10 per cent, estimated at 19.9 million of 200 million girls and women worldwide.
The UNICEF Country Representative, Mrs Cristian Munduate, said Nigeria hold the third highest number of women and girls who have undergone FGM around the world.
Munduate disclosed this in Ilorin on Tuesday while speaking at the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, organised by the wife of Kwara governor.
The UNICEF representative also said despite a slight decrease in prevalence of FGM in the country, recent data shows the practice remains widespread in Kwara.
According to her, approximately one in every three girls experienced FGM.
“FGM prevalence is highest among women aged 15-49, reaching 58 per cent and for the 0-14 age bracket, it stands at 35 per cent.
“We must act with a collective commitment to change to address this issue comprehensively.
“UNICEF, along with our sister agency, UNFPA, have co-led the largest global programme on the elimination of FGM aligning with the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“This year’s theme: ‘Her Voice. Her Future. Investing in Survivors-Led Movements to End Female Genital Mutilation’, resonates with the journey we collectively embark upon to eradicate this harmful practice,” Munduate said.
According to her, every survivor’s voice lies a testament to resilience, courage and the unwavering spirit to shape a different future.
The wife of the Kwara governor, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq, enjoined traditional and religious leaders who are the custodians of culture, faith and tradition, to join in the drive to ensure such harmful practice is phased out from their communities.
She also urged the media to actively engage in the dissemination of relevant information to dissuade people from engaging in the harmful practice.
“As revered citizens, I commend our traditional and religious leaders for their support on the programmes and activities of the government.
“I sincerely urge your royal highnesses to extend this support to our quest to end this practice,” she said.
The governor’s wife said stakeholders needed to redouble efforts and ensure that all hands are on deck toward meeting the global target of ending FGM by the year 2030.
“It is in the light of this that I commend UNICEF for this remarkable partnership and shared commitment toward ending all harmful practices that may deter our women and girls from reaching their full potentials in all facets of life,” she said.