Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The federal government has been called upon to as a matter of urgency, increase its campaign against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and set a baseline target for the number of girls that will be cut by the year 2030.â€Ž This is even as Preston Development Foundation, a non-governmental organisation has accused the government of not doing enough to stop the harmful practice.
The Programme Officer for the NGO, Ms. Zikar Elendu, who spoke with journalists at the Federal Ministry of Health headquarters in Abuja, said the time to end the menace, which has continued to gain grounds is now, judging from the sad fact that the practice is fast becoming medicalised as research has shown that many have formed the habit of taking the girl-child to the hospital for a cut.
She said, “We are not protesting, but creating an aggressive awareness of FGM. â€ŽWe are in 2017 and we are supposed to be implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and girls should not be cut at this time.
“Research has shown that people are now medicalising FGM and have started taking it to hospitals. We want the government to set a baseline target for the number of girls that will not be cut by the year 2030. We want it to be reduced drastically in Nigeria.
“We have data from organisations and not necessary from the federal government. In Nigeria, we suffer a dearth of data and if you go on the net, there is a deficit and that is why we want the government to set a target and so that we can have more data and know what it is like to end FGM in Nigeria.â€
In the face of culture and FGM, Elendu said “we do not condemn the people but we condemn the practice. Even when we bring the message to them, we don’t go in battle because it deals with behaviour change communication so as to let them know that it has no health benefitâ€Ž.”
In the same vein, the Knowledge Management Officer, Dr. Nwando Onuigbo Chatta, said the health implications of FGM does more harm with zero percentage of data recorded so far. She said, “The health implication includes infection. The idea is that the female genital is cut. In the case of child birth in a serious case of FGM, the whole area is tightened and the woman experiences difficulty in giving birth and then there’s chances of infection, pain, ovarian cyst, VVF and in extreme cases, there’s death.”