UNICEF: Over 200 Million Girls, Women Worldwide Undergone Female Genital Mutilation

UNICEF: Over 200 Million Girls, Women Worldwide Undergone Female Genital Mutilation

Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

The United Nation Children and Education Fund(UNICEF) Country Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Christiane Mundaute has disclosed that more than 200 million girls and women worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation.

She, however, said Nigeria accounts for 10 per cent per cent of the figure, estimated at 19.9 million.

Speaking in Ilorin, Kwara State yesterday, at the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation(FGM) symposium organised by the office of the First Lady of the State, Prof. Olufolake AbdulRazaq, Mundaute stated that, the ugly development of the scenario meant that, “Nigeria holds the third-highest number of women and girls who have undergone Female Genital Mutilation around the world.”   

According to her, “Despite a slight decrease in prevalence of FGM in the country, recent data shows the practice remains widespread, here in Kwara.

“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 this means approximately one in every three girls experienced FGM.

“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 program on the elimination of FGM aligning with the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” she added.

She stated that: “In Nigeria, a UN Joint Program, initiated in 2014 in high-prevalence states, that is expanding to other areas with the practice.

“This demonstrated our commitment to eliminating FGM. 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.

“In every survivor’s voice lies a testament to resilience, courage, and the unwavering spirit to shape a different future.  

“Today, we amplify those voices—the voices of survivors who are not just reclaiming their lives but are also leading movements to end FGM.

 “Their stories are a powerful testament to the strength within, inspiring us to action.  A significant milestone achieved in 2023, ably led by the Government of Nigeria in collaboration with UNICEF is the Movement for Good to End FGM. “Facilitated by 10 youth-led civil society organisations, this initiative has successfully scaled-up grassroots social mobilisation efforts – so far we have received over six million pledges – to protect girls at risk of FGM across the country. 

 “Furthermore, adolescent girls, equipped with the knowledge and skills are advocating for change through community engagement, resulting in more people openly disowning the practice and taking action to protect girls from FGM.

“Every survivor who steps forward contributes to a future where no girl will endure the pain and consequences of FGM.”

 Also speaking at the event, Prof. AbdulRazaq said a total of 19.9 million women in Nigeria were listed as having the world’s third highest number of females who had experienced FGM.

She said that, “While current statistics on the prevalence of the practice favours the State less, the Kwara State Government under the leadership of His Excellency Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that the untoward trend is reversed.”

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