The upsurge in FGM among children under one year of age in Oyo worries UNICEF

The head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Mr. Ibrahim Sesay, said 32% of children aged 0 to 14 had undergone female genital mutilation in Oyo state, warning that there is currently an upsurge in cases of FGM in the state, particularly among children under one year of age.

Mr. Sesay during state-level engagement with traditional rulers, religious leaders and other stakeholders on FGM by the Federal Ministry of Culture and Information, UNICEF and the Fund United Nations Population Commission (UNFPA) said FGM cases in the state are no longer decreasing, especially in children under 1 year old.

Sesay said 32 percent of children aged zero to 14 undergo genital mutilation in Oyo state compared to the estimated national average of 31 percent and said Oyo state is a critical place. for Nigeria’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal of ending harm or violence against women and girls in the country.

According to him, “We see that Oyo State is one of the critical places that we really need to focus on if we are to achieve the goal of sustainable development by ensuring that we do not have any harm or violence. against women and girls in the state. . “

“The trend is no longer downward. We have seen a boom, especially in children who are under one year old, especially when there are festivities. At times like this is when we need to galvanize support from traditional leaders, women’s organizations, religious leaders to ensure that we stop the cuts, ”Sesay said.

In addition, UNICEF consultant for FGM, South West, Ms.Aderonke Olutayo lamented that despite the domestication of laws banning FGM in the state, there has been no enforcement or prosecution of any offender.

Olutayo said, “The bottleneck is that we are not able to work in all local government areas in Oyo state because there are 33 of them and we only work in eight local government areas. We have brought together all stakeholders in all local government areas to ensure that they speak out against all FGM with one voice and raise awareness in their different communities and localities.

Oyo State Primary Health Care Board Executive Secretary Dr Muideen Olatunji said there had been a series of activities, engagement, information dissemination, education to health and sensitization with communities asking them to denounce in order to put an end to FGM.

He added: “This has yielded results from 2018, the prevalence has fallen to 31%. So, correcting the harmful practice will work very soon, it will be a thing of the past. In the same way that we have reached the five-year reduction milestone, we will reach it at zero levels. It is not only about the law and the punishment, but about the conviction of the people to renounce the act. “

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