The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Thursday said that Osun still recorded highest prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria with over 76.3 per cent.
Damilola Obinna, a Gender Analyst with UNFPA, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that FGM was high in the South-West in spite of the geo-political zone’s high literacy and awareness rate.
Mrs. Obinna said the statistics was arrived at after a survey was carried out by UNFPA in collaboration with UNICEF in 2015.
“After data collation and analysis, we discovered that Osun had 76.3 per cent prevalence rate, Ekiti had 71.2, Oyo, 69.7; Ebonyi, 55.6; Imo, 48.8; and Lagos, 44.8.
“There is no single benefit in the practice of female genital mutilation; yet, the practice is high even among the educated.
“Aside from the immediate risks of FGM which includes haemorrhage, infections, and death, survivors of FGM are liable to present later in their lives recurring urinary tract infections, menstrual problems, reproductive tract infections, depression, sexual dysfunction and pain, and chronic genital pain.
“They are also at risk for several adverse complications for both mother and newborn during childbirth,’’ she said.
Mrs. Obinna said that in Lagos, the awareness of FGM was high but statistics showed that four out of 10 girls or women had undergone female genital mutilation.
She said that Lagos Island L.G.A. recorded the highest prevalence with 51.6 per cent while Somolu L.G.A. had the lowest prevalence with 20.9 per cent.
“We discovered that most Lagos indigenes don’t cut their girls but the people who moved into Lagos from Kwara, Osun, Oyo, Ondo, Ebonyi and some other states, moved in with their culture which includes FGM.
“These people who still practice FGM claimed that it is a social expectation that most be carried out and that it cannot be stopped,’’ she said.
Mr. Obinna urged state governments to enact laws that would prohibit FGM in their states.
She said the states could domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) of 2015.
She also urged governments to organise regular enlightenment programmes involving traditional, religious and community leaders to drive the message home.
“These people are role models in the society; people listen and emulate them; so, they must be fully involved in the total eradication of FGM,’’ Obinna said. (NAN).