8 February 2003

Nigerians Say No to Female Genital Mutilation

Lagos — Concerns over genital mutilation aka female circumcision is growing by the day as 80 per cent of Nigerians have refused the practice

Findings from a research conducted on viewers in Benin, Akure, Lagos and Abuja who watched a documentary film, "Uncut! Playing With Life!" focussing on female circumcision showed that 88 per cent of the audience said they did not support the practice, with only 7 per cent supporting it.

The results, released Wednesday by Communica-ting for Change (CFC), a non-profit media organisation, was in recognition of the first International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation and Other Harmful Traditional Practices, organised by the Inter-Africa Committee and the United Nations.

The data reflected results of an opinion survey conducted in 2002 in which Nigerians called for an end to the harmful traditional practice.

A majority (93 per cent) of the respondents said the practice should be discouraged in Nigeria. The study revealed that 86 per cent of the respondents were aware of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) before watching the film and 79 per cent identified "tradition" as the major reason why female circumcisions are carried out.

Respondents were reacting to the documentary UNCUT-Playing with Life, produced by Communicating for Change, which presented female genital mutilation in Nigeria through the life of Stella Omoregie, a circumciser from the royal family of Benin, and theatre for development activists, who studied her life and profession as research material for a play against FGM.

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