Over 200m girls suffer female genital mutilation globally

A group, Coalition of Side by Side Movement for Gender Justice, has disclosed that over 200 million girls and women today are victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) in countries where the practice is concentrated.

Akanji made this statement at a press briefing to commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation in Abuja, Nigeria on Wednesday.

According to the co-chairman of the organisation in Nigeria, Rev Israel Akanji, he said, “The procedure of FGM has no health benefits for girls and women who can cause severe bleeding and problems during urinating. It could later result in cyst, infections as well as complications during childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.

“More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been mutilated in about 30 countries mainly in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated, FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.”

He further said that such practice which is majorly carried out on minors is a violation of the rights of children, adding that such act violates a person’s right to health, security, physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

Speaking from the faith-based perspective, Prof Mustapha Ismail, co-chair of the movement while referring to the Holy Book said Abraham was the originator of sharing knowledge on the issue of circumcision.

“Abraham brought light on the issue of circumcision made for only men and not for women. A lot is gained for the men when circumcised because when not circumcised, it could end up causing harm to such a person. There is no authentic prophetic tradition that enjoys circumcision so far it has been proved that there is something to benefit from it.”

In his remark, the acting executive director of African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development Centre (LSD) Mr Monday Osasah stressed the need for more advocacies in the process of achieving the implementation of this initiative.

According to the president, National Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria Deaconess Victoria Ihesiulor, the general belief in Africa is that when a lady isn’t circumcised, she is generally seen as promiscuous which could lead to having multiple partners.

She added “we will need to disseminate information about the dangers through clinics and religious centres in order to inform the girl-child about what to know in this regard.”

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