The United Nations Population Fund and United Nation Children’s Fund (UNFPA-UNICEF) Monday said 4.3 million girls in the world are at risk of being mutilated in 2023.
This is as the international organisations noted that female genital mutilation remains wide spread in Nigeria with about 19.9 million survivors.
They disclosed this in a joint statement marking 2023 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
The statement reads: “This year, 4.3 million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation, according to latest estimates. This number is projected to reach 4.6 million by 2030, as conflict, climate change, rising poverty and inequality continue to hinder efforts to transform gender and social norms that underpin this harmful practice and disrupt programmes that help protect girls.
“Female genital mutilation (FGM) remains widespread in Nigeria. With an estimated 19.9 million survivors, Nigeria accounts for the third highest number of women and girls who have undergone FGM worldwide, with the risk of cutting highest in the first 5 years (86% of girls circumcised before age 5 – National Demographic and Health Survey 2018)”.
UNFPA-UNICEF further noted that the prevalence of FGM amongst women and children are in the decrease in Nigeria, noting that men and boys were instrument to the achievement.
“FGM prevalence in Nigeria is decreasing among women aged 15-49 according to data from the 2021 Multiple Indicator Survey (MICS) (18% to 15% 2016-17/2021). Similarly, the prevalence among girls aged 0-14 decreased from 25% to 8% during the same time period (MICS 2021).
“This significant decrease in prevalence among girls aged 0-14 is a welcome development, given that an estimated 86% of females aged 15-49 were subjected to FGM before the age of 5 (NDHS 2018). At the same time, 12 states had a prevalence higher than the national prevalence, ranging from 9% in Edo to 35% in Kwara and Kano.”
“As a result of our collective efforts, we are witnessing significant opposition from men and boys to FGM. Today, men and boys are more receptive to change than before, and in some communities, they are more likely to disapprove of female genital mutilation and domestic violence than women and girls,” said Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative.