The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and other stakeholders on Tuesday called for higher budgetary allocation for the implementation of legal and policy frameworks to eliminate the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The stakeholders made the call during a webinar on FGM Progress Report organised by an NGO, Education As Vaccine (EVA), with support from UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on Elimination of FGM.
Dr Zubaida Abubakar, a Gender Specialist with UNFPA Nigeria, said the progress report showed that more budgetary allocation and commitment from government would increase coverage on activities towards ending FGM practices in communities.
According to Abubakar, the government should “show commitment to Female Genital Mutilation abandonment and have a budget line”.
She expressed the need for more collaborations in mapping out areas to provide vital information during situation analysis, which would be documented and aid in eliminating the practice.
Ms Olabukola Williams, Executive Director, EVA, said that findings of the progress report from focus states showed that improved funding was necessary towards eliminating the practice in areas that were not captured in the research.
Williams also emphasised the need for more advocacy and collaboration with the media, civil society organisations, NGOs, traditional and religious leaders, towards eliminating the practice⁴.
Earlier, Mr Solomon Ogwuche, Programme Manager, EVA, while presenting the progress report on the UN Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM in Nigeria, said that the report’s focal states are Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Osun and Oyo states.
“The practice is an infringement on human rights as it is a manifestation of deep-rooted norms of gender inequality with no health benefit to the girl – child.
“The progress report plays a critical role in achieving the SDG 5.3, which aims to end all harmful practices by 2030.
“There is the need for the implementation of laws that will ensure that perpetrators of FGM practices are prosecuted.
“In all states, there is the general perception that the government is doing less than it can in the campaign for the abandonment of FGM.
“Sanctions stipulated in the policies on FGM have not been seen to be effective, and people are not taking the law seriously since there are no observable repercussions.
“Communities must be put at the heart of the legislation and FGM intervention programmes,” Ogwuche said.
Mr Kenneth Oviawe from the Young Men’s Network Against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Osun, commended the efforts of EVA in the quest to eliminate FGM practice in Nigeria.
Oviawe called for wider coverage in creating awareness on the dangers of harmful practices to the individual and nation.
Similarly, Elizabeth Olanrewaju, representing Value Reorientation for Community Enhancement, said women should interact in safe spaces within their communities.
Olanrewaju said that such interaction would encourage them to embrace the message and open up their knowledge on FGM and how to curb the practice. (NAN)