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Prevalence of FGM in Three SW States, Ebonyi, Imo Ranks Nigeria Third Highest in Number of Cases

UNICEF says development is worrying trend

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has decried the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), among women and girls in Nigeria, disclosing that with an estimated 19.9 million survivors, the country accounts for the third highest number of cases.

A report by the world body also indicates that Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Osun and Oyo lead in Nigeria, where rates of FGM continue to rise among the females.

Mrs. Maureen Zubie-Okolo, officer in charge of UNICEF Zonal Office, Enugu, who made the presentation at a parley with journalists in Enugu, to mark this year’s International Day for Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, described the development as a worrying trend.

“While the national prevalence of female genital mutilation among women in Nigeria aged 15-49 dropped from 25 percent in 2013 to 20 percent in 2018, prevalence among girls increased from 16.9 percent to 19.2 percent within the same period”, she stated.

FGM in Nigeria, Zubie-Okolo noted, occurs mainly during infancy, adding that 86 percent of females were cut before the age of five, while eight percent were cut between ages five and 14 years.

“As the world commemorates the International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM, about 4.16 million girls and women are at risk of genital mutilation. COVID-19 disruptions could add as many as two million cases of FGM by 2030 that would have otherwise have been averted.

“Millions of girls are being robbed of their childhoods, health, education and aspirations everyday by harmful practices, such as FGM and child early and forced marriage.

“The practice of FGM has no health benefits and it is deeply harmful to girls and women both physically and psychologically. It is a practice that has no place in our society and must be ended, as many Nigerian communities have already pledged to do”, she noted.

According to her, three million girls and women would have undergone female genital mutilation in the five identified Nigerian states, adding that the prevalence of FGM is highest in the South East with 35 percent, followed by South West with 30 percent and lowest in the North East with six percent, while the exercise is on the increase among Nigerian girls aged 0-14 years.

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