The United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday said over 309 communities in Nigeria have publicly declared the abandonment of female genital mutilation(FGM) , News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports.
The UNICEF Country representative, Mohamed Fall, disclosed this in Abuja at an event to commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
He said the 2016/2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey showed some decline in the incidence of FGM in the country.
Fall stated that based on the survey, 18.4 per cent of women aged 15 to 49 years now undergo FGM as against 27 per cent in 2011.
“UNICEF and partners’ interventions to ensure the elimination of FGM by 2030 has resulted in a break in the barrier against discussing FGM publicly
“Religious leaders, community stakeholders and young people now speak out against this practice.
“Subsequently, last year, more than 309 communities publicly declared abandonment of the practice.
“Despite this decline, millions of girls and women are still faced with the scourge of genital mutilation every year in Nigeria.
“There is, therefore, an urgent need for decision makers and political leaders to take concrete action towards ending the harmful practice of FGM in Nigeria,” Fall said.
He identified FGM as a violation of women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health, physical integrity, non-discrimination and freedom from cruel or degrading treatment.
According to him, it is also a violation of medical ethics and a form of gender-based violence.
The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is a United Nations(UN) sponsored annual awareness day to eradicate FGM.
The FGM day is celebrated every February 6.