International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria, Lagos Branch, has condemned Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), describing it as an evil act.
Chairperson, FIDA,Mrs Chinwe Efobi, disclosed this on Thursday in Lagos at the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM observed on Feb. 6 every year.
Efobi said that the day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders involved in ending FGM to celebrate achievements, advocate for abandonment of the practice and raise awareness.
She said it was in this vein that FIDA, Lagos joins the world in to commemorate the Day with the theme; “Partnership with Men and Boys to Transform Social and Gender Norms to End FGM.”
According to her, FGM refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
She said it was most often carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15, and usually referred to as circumcision.
“From statistics available, globally, more than 200 million women and girls have been mutilated.
“In Nigeria alone, more than 20 million women and girls have been mutilated and this figure represents 10 per cent of the global total.
“What this figure means in essence is that one out of every 10 mutilated girls or women in the world is a Nigerian,” she said.
Efobi said that there were so many reasons why FGM was practiced in Nigeria, some of which are culturally inclined, patriarchal system or religious/cultural obligation.
She said it was sad to note that a number of countries still engage in the practice of FGM in spite the fact that some of the perpetrators are aware of the adverse effects on the lives of the victims.
She said that FGM affects young girls more than older women and the psychological effects could impact the lives of a young girl throughout her life.
She said, “FIDA Nigeria, Lagos branch, calls on all stakeholders to raise more awareness in the fight against FGM, and we must not relent in our efforts to raise our voices.
“We must take this campaign to families and communities still practicing this evil act.
“We also call on all government agencies saddled with enforcement responsibilities to take the issue of FGM more seriously.
“To curb the spread of this practice, more perpetrators need to be prosecuted and punished speedily to help achieve a sane and safe environment for women and girls to live in a society free of FGM,” she said.
Among the NGOs and CSOs speaking against FGM with FIDA are Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Child Protection Network (CPN) and Bimbo Odukoya Foundation.