Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called for zero tolerance and decisive action by stakeholders to reduce the practice of female genital mutilation across the country, saying that such violation of the girl child’s rights exposes her to health challenges.
The governor made the call on Wednesday in commemoration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation marked every February 6, by the United Nations and its sister organs.
He noted that girls who undergo female genital mutilation are exposed to health challenges such as severe pain, shock, excessive bleeding that may lead to death, infections as well as other complications in adult life that might affect sexual and reproductive health.
He discouraged the practice, urging communities who still subject girls to such practice to desist from it as they risk maiming the girls or subjecting them to psychological stress later in life.
According to him, “As the world marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, I join in condemning this practice because of its inherent violation of the rights of the girl child. The practice exposes girls to difficulties either right after the practice or later in life when they may have complications with their sexual and reproductive health.”
He noted that the Edo State government kicks against the practice and urged relevant stakeholders to take decisive action to stamp it out from society.
“We are mobilising stakeholders to take the message of zero tolerance for this practice to the rural areas where this practice persists.”
Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, said female genital mutilation is rooted in gender inequalities and power imbalances – and it sustains them by limiting opportunities for girls and women to realise their rights and full potential.
According to him, “An estimated 200 million women and girls alive today have been subject to this harmful practice. And every year, almost four million girls are at risk. The Sustainable Development Goals call for the elimination of female genital mutilation by 2030.
“The United Nations joins hands with global, regional and national actors in supporting holistic and integrated initiatives to achieve this objective. Tackling FGM is also a central part of our efforts in the Spotlight Initiative, launched in partnership with the European Union to end all forms of violence against women and girls.”