Social activists under the aegis of Centre For Social Value and Early Childhood Development, CESVED, have solicited the support of the media to end Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, in Nigeria.
The activists said the fight to end FGM in Nigeria was not unconnected to the grave health challenges it poses to women and girls, who due to adherence to traditional norms, were exposed to genitalia cutting.
Gift Abu, who is the President of CESVED Nigeria, at a training programme for some media practitioners in Calabar, Cross River State, southern Nigeria, urged the media to amplify the message for a collaborative action by all stakeholders.
Abu stated that Female Genital Mutilation is an age old practice in Nigeria.
“In Cross River State especially, women undergo these cuttings referring to such as a ritual for a womans coming of age. As a nurse, I have seen women who have been cut experience serious challenges and even deaths as a result of the practice. Most of these women do not talk about it. They are silent and consent to FGM. Some are forced, kidnapped and mutilated by relatives for whatever reason,” noted Abu.
She said “we need the media to join in the campaign to end FGM.It is unfortunate that most women have gone through this, but we can all protect the future girl child from this barbaric practice.”
Dr. Juliet Ubom, a public health expert with the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital described FGM as one of the evils committed against the girl child.
Ubom explained that 90 percent of women and girls, who have undergone FGM are susceptible to infections, extreme pains during labour, prolonged bleeding, which may lead to shock and eventually death.
According to her, “in my practice, I have come across women whose genitalia were cut. Most of these women suffer from infections, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, urinary tract infections and others because of the use of crude and unsterilized instruments. Female Genital Mutilation is also one of the contributing causes of Vesicovaginal Fistula, VVF. Depression is common with these women and in some cases, they become suicidal. For the health challenges and complications during pregnancies, we all do need to speak out against this practice. There is no benefit to the woman only pains,” she maintained.
The training, which would be rounded off in two days, featured presentations on the Use of Social Media to end FGM and the Socio-Cultural Norms of FGM.