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Gender  

NGO urge Kwara State govt to end FGM, prosecute executors

Burdened by the existing practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Kwara State, a non-governmental organisation, Kick Against Genital Multiple ( KAGM) has intensified efforts to wage war against the practice in families across the state.

The organisation noted that while Female Genital Mutilation is illegal in Nigeria and the call for the elimination of the practice since 2016, by the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, the practice is still ongoing in some parts of the state, calling on the state government to intervene to bring an end to the heinous practice.

The Executive Director of KAGM, Funso Alimi, said the body would put every resource to end the debasement of women.

He said many communities in Nigeria still engaged in the age-long practice while citing the family of Arogunde Adeniyi Oladipupo of Idiogun, Offa town in Kwara State that still engage in female circumcision while claiming it is “customary to do circumcision for all female child.”

Alimi noted that with the attendant pains, infection and disease like Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), “some bold people are resisting the custom – A position that put them at conflict with the adherents of FGM.” He said it was Oladipupo’s refusal to allow his family to carry out the FGM with their daughters that drew the anger of the family head, which resulted into conflicts. “The head of the family, being a strong politician and wealthy, has vowed to compel and use his power to keep the tradition of their family. This makes most of their family members that are female born and unborn daughters flee out of the country,” Alimi noted.

He continued: “The battle has been raging and worrisome. They have been informed that the circumcision exercise will continue to fester because of the huge wealth at the disposal of the head of the family.”

According to Alimi: “We are determined to do what ‘End Cutting Girls’ are doing to put an end to FGM in Nigeria. It is no longer acceptable to subject the girl child to this barbaric.

“We recently visited the family of Arogundade Adeniyi Oladipupo in Kwara who are still practising FGM to let them know the danger and why it must end. We shall prosecute families that refuse to end the barbaric acts.”

Alimi claimed that the Kwara State Police authorities are aware of the development and are willing to act on a petition brought before them. He said: “No convictions have been made because only a few states have ratified the law. Much advocacy is needed to make people aware of the act.”

According to a 2017 report by the United Nations Population Fund, which estimated that one in four women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 have undergone FGM in Nigeria.

The report revealed that the practise has reached alarming rates in six Nigerian states, including Kwara, which stands at 53.3 percent, making it the sixth-highest in Female Genital Mutilation. However, Nigeria’s First Lady Aisha Buhari had called for the elimination of the practice since 2016.

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