Wife of the Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, through the Asst. Director Public Affairs, Folashade Kadiri, on Monday, called on mothers, women groups and high-powered government organizations, to step up advocacy towards total eradication of female genital mutilation. She made the call in Alausa, Ikeja, while interacting with journalists on the occasion of the 2017 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Bolanle who noted that FGM constituted an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls, violating their rights to health, security and physical integrity, wondered why women should continue to suffer such level of dehumanization, just to get social acceptance or avoid social stigma.
“It is surprising that 45 out of every 100 adult women living in Lagos State have undergone FGM at one time or another as reported in the National Demographic Health Survey 2013. This is largely due to migration from those states where the prevalence in much higher.”
Speaking further, she disclosed that FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometimes between infancy and age 15, and this causes much bleeding and health issues which include but not limited to cysts, infections, infertility, as well as complications and even death in some cases.
Mrs. Ambode noted further that it was erroneous and misleading to tie the gruesome procedure to family honour, hygiene, fertility, protection of virginity and prevention of promiscuity.
She called for massive public awareness campaigns and concrete actions against the practice.
She contended that only when mothers began to raise their voices against the act and governments initiated strong legislations, could we begin to race toward total eradication of the wicked practice in Africa and the world come 2030.
FGM is inextricably linked with other forms of gender inequality, such as violence against women and girls, and other harmful practices such as early and forced marriages.
February 6 of every year has been set aside by the United Nations as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.