UNICEF says it made 594 Nigerian communities to renounce female genital mutilation

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Photo: Women Affairs Minister Tallen

UNICEF says it made 594 Nigerian communities to renounce female genital mutilation

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) says its intervention in achieving zero tolerance policy on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has led to over 594 communities renouncing the practice so far in Nigeria.

Child Protection Specialist with UNICEF, Mrs Nkiru Maduechesi, made this known on Tuesday in Akure, while speaking with newsmen at a three-day workshop for training of law enforcement agencies and judiciary officers on the anti-female genital mutilation law.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was organised by the Federal Ministry of Information, Child Rights Information Bureau, in Collaboration with UNICEF, while  participants were drawn from the states of Osun, Oyo and Ekiti..

According to Maduechesi, UNICEF was driving towards achieving zero tolerance by making law enforcers to be more aware of the dangers of FGM.

She said that part of the problem facing the frontline workers in eradicating the menace totally was because it was a sort of social norm, and people, including some law enforcement agencies, were not seeing it as a crime.

Maduechesi said the essence of the training was to stimulate enforcement of FGM laws across the states, and  strengthen the knowledge of law enforcers to ensure laws were maintained to protect the girl child.

She stressed that FGM was one of the worst human rights violations that had been in the country for generations because of the life long traumatic effects that a girl-child would carry for the rest of her life.

“As a social norm, people are not seeing it as a crime or an offence, and that is why UNICEF is investing, together with out partners in community dialogue, moving from community to community.

“Since the inception of this programme with our partners, UNFPA, we have supported over 594 communities to have public declaration from their traditional rulers to the least person.

“Actually, we have evidence that girl child violence is reducing; we can say that we are making progress.

“According to the current national demographic survey, we have moved from 25 per cent in 2014 to 20 per cent, but what we are looking for is zero tolerance to violence against girl child.

“All stakeholders should come together to put this in front as the agenda to fight against child violence,” she said.

According to her, the training will also help stakeholders know how best to get justice for survivors of FGM and how to strengthen the system to achieve zero tolerance.

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