FGM Rises Among Girls In Nigeria, Warns UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that female genital mutilations (FGM) are on the rise among girls in Nigeria below the age of 14.

According to the Fund, there was a rise in FGM from 16.9% to 19.2% between 2013 and 2018.

UNICEF Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, yesterday (Sunday), raised the alarm in a statement in Maiduguri; disclosing that: “The 2.3 per cent rise in FGM in six years, is a worrying trend.”

He said FGM remains widespread in the country, with an estimated 19.9 million survivors.

Hawkins lamented that Nigeria accounts for the third highest number of women and girls who have undergone genital mutilation globally.

According to him, the national prevalence of FGM among women in Nigeria aged 15-49, however; dropped from 25 per cent in 2013 to 20 per cent in 2018.

“The prevalence among girls aged 0-14 increased from 16.9 per cent to 19.2 per cent in the same period,” said the NDHS.

Besides, he added that 86 per cent of females were cut before the age of five, while eight per cent were cut between the ages five and 14. 

Continued; “As the world today commemorates the International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM, 68 million girls worldwide were estimated to be at risk of female genital mutilation between 2015 and 2030.

“COVID-19 also continues to close schools and disrupt programmes that help protect girls from this harmful practice.”

He warned that an additional two million cases of FGM may occur over the next decade.

He noted that millions of girls are being robbed of their childhoods, health, education, and aspirations every day by harmful practices of genital mutilations

“The practice of FGM has no health benefits to survivors,” he warned, stating that the mutilations of girls and women genitals are harmful physically and psychologically.

He noted that the prevalence of mutilations, is highest in the South East by 35 per cent, while Imo state has 62% prevalence in the region.

The practice, according to him, must be ended, as many Nigerian communities have already pledged to do.

“UNICEF is initiating a community-led movement to eliminate FGM in five Nigerian states where it is highly prevalent,” he said.

He said the five targeted states, include Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Osun and Oyo, as about three million girls and women had undergone FGM in the last five years.

By Mohammed Farouk

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