9 March 2017

Nigeria: Women Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation

Photo: Newtown grafitti/Flickr
Graffiti opposing female genital mutilation or cutting.

The International Women Peace Group on Wednesday in Lagos advocated for a ban on female genital mutilation, FGM.

The campaign tagged 'Ban FGM, Upholding the Dignity of Women and Girls,' was organised to commemorate the 2017 International Women's Day.

Kemi Olaokun, IWPG's coordinator in Ikorodu, said the group's aim is to use women as mothers to show love, end war, and promote peace globally.

"We believe that there's gender discrimination, so we use this day as an opportunity to speak," Ms. Olaokun said.

"We are not trying to compete with men but because of our gender we have been robbed of our rights, we have been silent for too long so we need to come out."

Adeola Ogunkolade, a gender activist, said the campaign also targets education and enlightenment about FGM and its detrimental effects.

"The way we can stop FGM is by enlightening our children and ourselves as mothers, sisters, neighbours, friends, telling them of the harmful effects," said Ms. Ogunkolade, the founder of Africa Development and Empowerment Foundation.

"We can also enlighten people in the different groups we belong to, in our religious gatherings, clubs, schools, offices and even social gatherings on this FGM act."

About 20 million women and girls in Nigeria have undergone FGM, ten per cent of the global total, according to UNICEF.

In a survey conducted by the United Nations Population Fund in 2015, Osun State recorded the highest prevalence of FGM in the country with over 76.3 per cent.

Ms. Ogunkolade said policy engagement with elected representatives as well as local leaders would help curb FGM practice.

"As women, if we can communicate these things again and again, the authorities will begin to understand that it is affecting women, the community, and the nation at large."

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