As the world which Nigeria is part of observes International day of zero tolerance of female genital mutilation, Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights.(CCIDESOR) joins citizens and organizations who believed that FGM is a violation of the rights of girls and women, to commiserate with millions of Nigeria women who are victims of FGM and call on government at federal and state levels to save the remaining women from being victims by either passing law against it or implementing the existing law that prohibits FGM.
CCIDESOR strongly observes that while governments are promulgating laws under Violence Against Persons demands, the practice of FGM in many states have not reduced below 20%, which is an embarrassing women population whose sexual rights are waiting to be violated. CCIDESOR strongly condemns, in unmistakable terms the practice of FGM in Nigeria where innocent women are subjected to the worst inhuman abuse of their sexual rights as they are equally exposed to devastating health dangers. In the past, our mothers and future mothers have either died or incapacitated by this inhuman practice whose plausible reasons for practice belong to the dark ages instead of reason. CCIDESOR therefore usestoday to draw the attention of stakeholders particularly, community leaders, health care providers, traditionalists,religious groups, traditional practitioners and individuals who are involved to immediately put a stop to this inhuman act and say No to FGM
CCIDESOR is using this International day of observation of zero tolerance to FGM to equally appreciate the Federal and all the state governments, particularly Enugu, Anambra, Abia and lately Imo, for passing the VAPP law and making strong provision against the practice of FGM. However, our field experience shows that these lawsareunpopular as they are known by those who are neck deep in FGM practice. Because the awareness of the law is very low or at zero level, citizens who ought to have abandoned this mundane practiceare still deep into it under the cloak of culture or religion. Recent research shows that the practice of FGM is more prevalent in southeast, South South and Southwest Nigeria. In Southeast Nigeria, the practice is more in Imo, Anambra and Ebonyi states.
CCIDESOR therefore observes as follows:
- Female Genital Mutilation is one of the societal evils whose reason of being practice belong to the dark age and cannot be substantiated
- FGM is one of the worst violations of the rights of Nigeria women and by extension their sexual rights
- FGM is one of the dangerous sources of infection and in so cases death of women.
- The physical and mental damage that FGM causes to women affects the nation in no small measure
- The existence of unimplemented laws against FGM is an indirect serve as indirect approval of the same violation which emboldens and encourages non stoppage of the inhuman act.
- The non-implementation of FGM law is the non-protection of women.
- The total stoppage of FGM will enable Nigeria to achieve SDG goals 3, 4 and 5.
- Since most communities are governed by men, critical issues like FGM are rarely tackled by communities
It is unfortunate that neither Southern nor Northern Governors Forum who met regularly on many political and economic issues have met to consider themeasures for the eradication of this crime against society – FGM. CCIDESOR has also observed that FGM has remained the least issue of worry to Federal and State Executive councils’ during their meetings. Having observed the poor attention of government in eradicating FGM despite the existence of law, CCIDESOR recommends the following to Government:
- Render public apologize to FGM victims since the enactment of VAP law and pay them compensation as damages for not protecting their rights.
- To sustain publicity and awareness campaign on Violence Against Persons Law particularly the sections that criminalizethe practice of FGM.
- To popularize the VAPP law by making it easily available to citizens and create awareness on the penalties against practitioners of FGM
- Set up monitoring Committees at federal and state levels for full compliance of the law by communities and practitioners.
- Empower communities’ traditional leaders and Town Union leaders to abolish FGM in line with the VAP law and ensure strict Compliance by community members.
- Empower Ministries of Women, Nigeria Medical Association, CSOs and churches to educate women against providing their new babes for FGM.
To Civil Society Organizations:
- To mount door to door and roadshow campaigns against the practice of FGM
- Establish community watch against the practice and FGM and facilitate prosecution of identified hidden offender
- Empower community and local women on the dangers of FGM and the need to protect the girl child against FGM
- Advocate for budgetary provision to end FGM
- Hold government accountable for non-implementation of Zero FGM and application of VAPP law.
Let us save our society by saving women against Female Genital Mutilation.
Nnenna Onyenoha Nnaemeka Onyejiuwa
Executive Director Program Manager