FGM, More Prevalent In S’ West -UNFPA

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The Acting Head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Cross River State, Dr Yakubu Aliu says one out of every four Nigerian women between the ages of 15 and 49 have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Aliu said in Calabar yesterday that the figures were based on the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) of 2013.
The expert also said FGM was more prevalent in the South-West, followed by the South-East and the South-South, adding that parts of the North-Central, North-East and North-West had the least prevalence in Nigeria.
“The South-West based on the NDHS 2013 has an FGM prevalence rate of 56.9 per cent; South-East, 40.8 per cent; South-South, 34.7 per cent; North Central, 9.6 per cent; North-East, 1.3 per cent; and North-West, 0.4 per cent.
“In 2008, UNFPA and UNICEF developed a joint programme looking at the states that had a high prevalence in the South-West and South-East and found four states.
“Osun had the highest prevalence followed by Ebonyi, Imo and then Ekiti.’’
He said that the NDHS 2013 also showed that 15 per cent of Nigerian girls between the ages of 15 and 19 had also been mutilated.
According to the UNFPA official, the National Population Commission in 2014 reported that about 19.9 million women have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) worldwide.
Aliu said that in Nigeria, 25 per cent of the women had undergone one form of FGM or the other.
He said that though there were wide regional variations, the reasons for the practice, being to prevent promiscuity and to ensure that the girls get married were similar.
“Here, there is a belief that if it is not done, the girl will be promiscuous and won’t be able to get married, these are just beliefs and have no scientific backing.