By Mosunmola Ayobami, Kwara
The Kwara State governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has lend his voice to stop the age-long harmful practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the state.
He said the practice could cause short- and long-term health complications, which include chronic pain, infections, risk of HIV transmission, anxiety and depression, birth complications, infertility and in the worst cases, death.
He added that it is internationally recognized as an extreme violation of the rights of women and girls.
The governor stated this while declaring a road walk open in commemoration with 2020 international day of zero tolerance for FGM with the theme: “Unleashing Youth Power’’ held at Kwara State Ministry of Sports and Youths Development In Ilorin on Thursday.
The governor who was represented by Commissioner for Sports and Youths Development, Joana Kolo said the theme is particularly relevant with the active, articulate and ever undaunting youth of the State.
He said, “I am highly delighted to welcome you all and to identify with you today, as we join other young people, the world over to celebrate this year’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, the day set aside by UN General Assembly with the aim to amplify and direct the efforts in the elimination of this practice.
“This morning, we are formally declaring open, the road walk in our own effort as the government in collaboration with Olive Community Development Initiative (OCDI) in ending FGM ladies and gentlemen permit me to define what FGM is all about. It is partial or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is a deeply entrenched social and cultural norm in many places.
“FGM violates human rights principles and standards including the principles of equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex. The right to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the rights of the child, and the right to physical and mental integrity, and even the right to life.”
He said the practice has been around for more than a thousand years and there are reasons to think that FGM could end in a single generation which was why the United Nations strives for its full eradication by 2030, following the spirit of Sustainable Development Goal 5.
He commended the effort of OCDI for the laudable programme and the youth for the turn-out for the campaign against FGM.
According to him, in 2019 it was estimated that 4.1 million girls are at risk of FGM because of population growth, this number is projected to rise to 4.6 million girls in the year 2030, unless efforts to end FGM are intensified.
He said If FGM continues at the current rates, an estimated 68 million girls will be cut between 2015 and 2030 in 25 countries where FGM is routinely practiced and relevant data are available.
Earlier, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of OCID, Toni Adeleke said Initiative is a women led Non-governmental, non-religious, non-political and non-profit making organization with a commitment to support women, girls and vulnerable groups.
She said the NGO promotes the rights and empowerment of women, girls and other vulnerable groups through partnership and capacity building to enable social justice and help them live in a world free from poverty and diseases.
The program is part of the women’s voice and leadership program Nigeria sponsored, funded by Global Affairs Canada through Action Aid Nigeria.
According to her, one in four women are victims of genital mutilation, and one in three women and girls aged 15 to 24 has experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence.
“Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls, elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls in public and private places including trafficking, sexual and other types of exploitation, elimination of all harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation ensuring accessed to sexual and reproductive health rights,” she said.