Saturday, February 6 marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The day is marked globally as part of the UN’s efforts aimed at amplifying and directing the efforts to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation. The theme for this year is: No Time for Global Inaction: Unite, Fund, and Act to End Female Gender Mutilation. FGM refers to a practice that involves the partial or total removal or alteration of the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
The act of FGM reflects a deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against females. It is starkly in violation of multiple fundamental human rights some of which include: the right to health, physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruelty and inhuman treatment and the right to live where it results in death due to excessive bleeding. Thus, since 2003, the United Nations introduced The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation as an annual awareness day.
Female Genital Mutilation is an ancient culture which has been practiced across Africa and Asia for decades. Studies show that an estimated 140 to 200 million girls and women in the world today have been mutilated. In Nigeria alone the combined figure stands at around 20 million which means Nigeria accounts for about 10% of all FGM cases worldwide. Efforts through Social campaigns, legislation, and policies like the Violence Against Persons Prohibition are actively working towards the eradication of FGM across the nation.
In addition, Ogun State has instituted the Family Support Unit (FSU) spearheaded by the Ogun State Police Command to ensure the prosecution of offenders of crimes related to gender violence in the state and this includes FGM.
As we prepare to mark this day, we are reminded that FGM must not be tolerated for any reason, at any time, or place. The effects of this practice are detrimental to the progress and quality of life of women and girls therefore we refuse to allow it to remain in our society.