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4.16m girls, women face genital mutilation risks in Nigeria – UNICEF

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ABOUT 4.16 million girls and women are at the risk of genital mutilation even as two million cases of female genital mutilation would be recorded by 2030 as a result of COVID-19 disruptions globally.

  Planning, monitoring and Evaluation specialist of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Field Office, Enugu, Maureen Zubie Okolo, disclosed this in media dialogue in collaboration with Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State in Umuahia.

  According to Okolo, while the national prevalence of FGM among women in Nigeria aged 15-49 dropped from 25 percent in 2013 to 20 percent in 2018, prevalence among girls aged 0-14 increased from 16.9 percent to 19.2 percent in the same period.

  “Millions of girls are being robbed of their childhood, health, education and aspirations everyday by harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and child early and forced marriage.  

  The practice not only has no health benefits, it is deeply harmful to girls and women both physically and psychologically. It is a practice that has no place in our society today and must be ended, as many Nigerian communities have already pledged to do,” she said.

  Okolo also said in Nigeria, female genital mutilation occurs mostly during infancy, adding that an estimated 86 percent of females were cut before the age of 5, while 8 percent were cut between ages of 5 and 14. But female genital mutilation remained widespread in Nigeria with an estimated 19.9 million survivors, adding that Nigeria accounts for the third highest number of women and girls.

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