Women against Violence and Exploitation (WAVE) has called for alternative sources of income for local circumcisers to discourage Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria.
WAVE President Lola Ibrahim, who made the call, said alternative sources of income for local circumcisers would afford them less time to dedicate to FGM.
FGM, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
It is understood that the practice has no health benefits for girls and women.
About 19.9 million girls have experienced FGM in Nigeria, according to a 2020 report by the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF), UN Women, and Plan International.
Nigeria had in 2015 passed the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAAP) Act into law, which states that the circumcision or genital mutilation of the girl or woman is prohibited.
This Act specifically mentions FGM as a criminal act. It also makes FGM and other forms of gender-based violence like rape, spousal battery, forceful ejection from home, harmful widowhood practices punishable offences in the country.
However, since 2015, only 13 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have adopted the VAPP Act out of Nigeria’s 36 States.
The states are Oyo, Ogun, Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, Edo, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Benue, Cross River, Kaduna, and Plateau.
‘We must not relent until women and girls are free to live a life free of torture and violence’, Ibrahim said.
‘We must ensure everyone is well educated about the implications of FGM’.
Ibrahim noted that while educating communities on the need to abolish the practice is important, providing alternative means of earning income for circumcisers must also be encouraged.
‘We need a stronger policing system and quicker access to justice, immediate prosecution of violators of the Violence against Persons Prohibition Law and the Child Rights Law to serve as a deterrent’, she said.
Photo source: DFID