By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: Nigerians from all walks of life have been called upon to use the period of the 2021 International Day of the Girl Child, to advance support in addressing the yearnings and aspirations, especially towards the complete eradication of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country.
This call was made on Friday at a press conference organized by Women Against Violence and Exploitation (WAVE) Foundation in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl-Child, as well as to raise awareness ahead of a proposed 5km Walk to End FGM in Nigeria.
Speaking at the press conference, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, while commending the Champions of FGM in the country for all the efforts they constantly put together with the support of development partners to bring an end to issues of Female Genital Mutilation, said the Government with the support of the United Nations strive for a full eradication of FGM by year 2030, following the spirit of Sustainable Development Goals 5.
The Minister who was represented by the Deputy Director, Women Development, Adamu Ismaila, stated that Nigeria’s desire to attain the SDG Goals by year 2030 may be limited, if the country does not make conscious and sustained efforts to mandate all stakeholders to request justice for all women and girls.
In her words, “FGM comprises of all procedures that involves altering or injuring the female genitalia for nonmedical reason and it is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights, the health and the integrity of the girls and the women.
“We all know the anguish faced by those who undergo Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to promote the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation”, she concluded.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Mr. Tony Ojukwu, in a goodwill message, said the Commission recognizes that the girl child is vulnerable and at a higher risk of being victims of abuse and all forms of exploitations, which is why it is strategically positioned to promote, protect and enforce the rights of every child across Nigeria in line with the provision of Section 5 (a) of the Commission’s Act, as amended.
Ojukwu, who was represented by the Director, Women and Children Department, Harry Obeh, disclosed that in an effort to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation, the Commission with the support of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) trained non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders in six (6) states where FGM is prevalent, developed training manual on FGM for MDAs, NGOs and other stakeholders, and also trained Staff of the Commission on how to use the training manual.
Furthermore, the Commission called for intensified efforts to stop violence against women and girls, and pledged to increase support for the effort to prevent Female Genital Mutilation and advance gender equality and human rights to live free of violence and discrimination.
“I once again thank the WAVE Foundation for organizing this event; you can always count on the National Human Rights Commission’s readiness and commitment as a partner. We shall continue to support your efforts and visions towards advancing the rights of women and girls”, he pledged.
In her remarks the President and Chairman, Board of Trustees, WAVE Foundation, Arch Lola Ibrahim, noted that as the initiator of StopTheCut, WAVE Foundation envisions that the society provides equal rights and opportunities for all sexes that can lead to sustainable development and build strategic partnerships to end Female Genital Mutilation and all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls.
She explained that in addition to the 5km Walk to End FGM which will take place on Saturday, October 16, 2021, WAVE Foundation is canvassing that Inter-agency rivalry be addressed, Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act be translated into local languages so that people in the grassroots can know and understand the laws against FGM, and anti-FGM advocates should be sensitive with their choice of words while conversing with local authorities
According to her, “The solution to end this inhumane act can easily be achieved with unity and healthy collaborations by relevant stakeholders. Rather than condemn the culture, explain the dangerous effects of their practises on the health of women and girls.
“We ask that the government at all levels provide support for FGM survivors because there are no social services available for them”, she added.
In a goodwill message, Ex-International 1996 Olympics Gold Medalist Emmanuel Babayero called for synergy among Organisations so as to create awareness and educate people in the rural communities of the consequences of the practice.
It is worthy of note, that history has shown that women who undergo Female Genital Mutilation face short-term complications such as severe pains, excess bleedings, infections, and difficulties in passing urine, as well as long-term consequences for their sexual and reproductive health and mental health, hence the call for a complete eradication of the act.
The press conference was attended by the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, represented by the Deputy Director, Women Development, Adamu Ismaila; the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Mr. Tony Ojukwu, represented by the Director, Women and Children Department, Harry Obeh; Nigeria’s Ex-International 1996 Olympics Gold Medalist Emmanuel Babayero; CEO Firmcare Diagnostic, Dolamu Jawando; Founder, Super Muslimah Connect, Hajiya Falilat Abdulrahman; Founder Jewels Hive Initiative, Foluwa Falaiye; as well as Rotary representative and others.