More than 309 communities in Nigeria have publicly declared their abandonment of female genital mutilation in 2018, a senior official with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said Wednesday.
The 2016/2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) showed some decline in the incidence of female genital mutilation in the country, Mohamed Fall, UNICEF’s country representative in Nigeria, said in a statement issued in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He said based on the survey, 18.4 percent of women aged from 15 to 49 years underwent genital mutilation as against 27 percent in 2011.
The UNICEF official added that despite this decline, millions of girls and women are still faced with the scourge of genital mutilation every year in Nigeria.
“There is, therefore, an urgent need for decision makers and political leaders to take concrete action toward ending the harmful practice of genital mutilation in Nigeria,” Fall said.
He identified genital mutilation as a violation of women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health, physical integrity, non-discrimination and freedom from cruel or degrading treatment.
According to him, it is also a violation of medical ethics and a form of gender-based violence.
The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is a UN-sponsored annual awareness day to eradicate the practice.