By Kola Bola
Wife of Lagos State governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, has called on mothers, women groups and government organisations to step up advocacy towards total eradication of female genital mutilation.
In a statement signed by Mrs Folashade Kadiri, Assistant Director Public Affairs Office of the Wife of the Governor of Lagos, Mrs Ambode 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 dehumanisation, 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 is 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 added 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.