Governor Akinwumi Ambode has supported the call by his wife and founder of Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative (HOFOWEM), Mrs. Bolanle Ambode for a multi-disciplinary approach to ending female genital mutilation, stressing that the effort would involve legislations, professional health organisations, women empowerment and public sensitization.
The call as made at an event organized by HOFOWEM in collaboration with UNICEF, UNFPA and AHI, to discuss modalities to assert the State’s zero tolerance towards female genital mutilation.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris who represented the Governor at the event said, “It is surprising that 45 out of every 100 adult women living in Lagos State have undergone female genital mutilation as reported in the National Demographic Health Survey 2013. This is largely due to migration from those States where the prevalence is much higher”.
Mrs. Bolanle Ambode noted that female genital mutilation was a brutal and gruesome procedure that had no medical or emotional benefit for the girl or woman.
According to her, the practice had been perpetuated through time by tradition, which erroneously tied the practice to family honour, hygiene, fertility, protection of virginity and prevention of promiscuity.
She said, “Female Genital Mutilation is recognized worldwide as a fundamental violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women.”
“It is also a violation of a person’s right to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death,” she stressed.
She listed the negative consequences of female genital mutilation to include excessive bleeding, extreme pain, infections, possibility of infertility and outright bareness.
In her opening remarks, the representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Nigeria, Ms. Beatrice Mutali, copiously praised the efforts of the wives of the governors of Lagos, Osun, Oyo and Ekiti State for championing ‘accelerated advocacy and action towards the abandonment of female genital mutilation.’
Also speaking at the forum, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, HRM, Oba Kabiru Sotobi, condemned the practice, contending that desired attitudinal change must begin from the communities.