The Trailblazer Initiative Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organisation, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has engaged Oyo State lawmakers on policy advocacy to tackle Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The Executive Director of Trailblazer Initiative Nigeria, Dr Dare Olagoke-Adaramoye, said this in a statement on Friday in Ibadan.
Olagoke-Adaramoye said the dialogue was aimed at seeking parliamentary intervention to save millions of girls and women in Nigeria from female genital mutilation.
He said the dialogue with the lawmakers would proffer solutions to the challenges hindering implementation and operationalisation of the Oyo State Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law 2020.
Olagoke-Adaramoye said the 2018 Nigeria Demographic Health Survey showed that the national prevalence of FGM among women aged 15-49 was 20 per cent, while it was 31.1 per cent in Oyo.
“The national FGM prevalence amongst 0-14 years was 19.2 per cent, while it was 8.2 per cent in Oyo state.
“Kajola LGA had a 98% prevalence of FGM, while Ibarapa North had 89.3% prevalence among women aged 15-49 years, “he said.
He said that there had been concerted efforts by the state government and development partners to ensure the elimination of FGM in Oyo State since 2018.
Olagoke-Adaramoye said the Oyo State Government had domesticated the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law, in addition to two other laws that previously existed in the state in 2020.
He, however, decried low reportage of cases with zero prosecution in the state.
“Despite concerted efforts to end FGM, the practice still persists and will need to be accelerated in order to meet the target of zero FGM cases by 2030.
“This is why UNICEF Nigeria is partnering with Trailblazer Initiative Nigeria to meet this target,” he said.
Also speaking, the UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Mrs Hadiza Ibrahim-Abba, said Nigeria currently ranks third globally in the number of girls and women who had undergone FGM.
Ibrahim-Abba said that approximately 106 girls in Nigeria daily undergone one of the severest forms of violations of their rights, the mutilation of their female genitalia for non-medical reason.
“This number accounts for 21 per cent of the annual estimate of 4.3 million girls globally according to data from UNFPA.
“FGM has grave economic consequences which strains the already saddled healthcare and social welfare system that needs to respond to these consequences.
“According to the World Health Organisation, treating FGM and related medical needs would cost $1.4 billion per year globally.
“And if no action is taken, it is estimated that these costs will soar by 50 per cent, as population grows and as more girls undergo the procedure.
“Therefore, preventing FGM is not only the right thing to do morally but also economically as it brings major benefits for women, girls, communities and economies,” she said.
The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Adebo Ogundoy, commended the NGO and UNICEF Nigeria for the dialogue and for working tirelessly to protect children and women in Oyo State.
The speaker who was represented by his deputy, Hon. Abiodun Fadeyi, jointly with other members expressed readiness of the 10th House of Assembly to support and collaborate with Trailblazer Initiative and UNICEF to achieve more.