The House of Representatives has called for a nationwide sensitisation against female genital mutilation by the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Women Affairs and the National Orientation Agency.
At the plenary on Thursday, the House resolved to commemorate the 2022 International Day of Female Genital Mutilation, which was themed ‘Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation,’ urging Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, and the NOA to “organise nationwide sensitisation programmes discouraging the practice of female genital mutilation.”
The House also mandated its Committees on Women Affairs and Social Development; Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values to ensure compliance with the resolution and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
The resolutions followed the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Ganiyu Johnson, titled ‘Need to Eradicate the Practice of Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria.’
Moving the motion, Johnson recalled that in 2003, the United Nations, while observing the need to eradicate the practice of female genital mutilation, declared February 6 as the International Day for the Eradication of Female Genital Mutilation.
The lawmaker noted that the move was to create a global awareness of the dangers of female genital mutilation and drum support for the protection of the physical and mental health of women and girls.
He explained that female genital mutilation comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons, which has been regarded internationally as a violation of the rights and health of women and girls.
Johnson noted the dangers that the “unwholesome practice” poses to the health and wellbeing of women and girls, ranging from urinary tract infections, infertility, hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases.
The lawmaker stated that female genital mutilation is an act of violence against women and girls and amounts to a violation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015.
He said, “The House is worried that about 20 million girls and women in Nigeria and 20 per cent of Nigerian women aged between 15 to 49 years are reported to have undergone female genital mutilation in Nigeria;
“The House is cognisant that the United Nations Report, published in 2020, reported that Nigeria ranked the third-highest number in cases of female genital mutilation in the world.”