The minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has called on religion and traditional leaders to study their doctrine and stop the harmful practice of female genital mutilation so as to avoid infringing on the girl child’s rights.

He made the call at a high-level launch of a movement for Good to End FGM in Nigeria, the nation’s capital on Thursday.

Dr. Ehanire said this practice has continued to be unabated due to certain beliefs, hence the need for all to revisit her doctrine to avert the health consequences associated with genital mutilation.

According to a global report, Nigeria has the highest cases of female genital mutilation which accounts for about 115 million out of 130 million circumcised women worldwide.

However, It is also said that 77 percent of other women have the highest prevalence practice in Nigeria, as the southeast zone accounts for 68 percent, southwest zone 65 percent, while other parts of the country are involved in the practice with a limited rate.

This is why the ministry of women affairs and social development in conjunction with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has organized this event to build an ambassador of 5 million Nigeria’s Movement for Good Initiative to act to end this ugly practice.

While speaking, the health minister Dr. Osagie Ehanire calls on well-meaning Nigerians to galvanize support both materially and financially across the board to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation activities in the country.

“The movement for all to end female genital mutilation in Nigeria, calls upon us as stakeholders to step up investment to end this practice in Nigeria, we stop or rest in our investment, we shall allow this practice to continue unabated.

It is, therefore, our moral duty to increase material and financial support to eliminate this harmful practice.”

Earlier, the minister of women’s affairs and social development, Pauline Tallen, while citing the country’s 1999 constitution in section 12, and the child right act 2003, stresses that female genital mutilation is a punishable offense by law, thus harping on the need to ensure implementation to discourage the practice.

“The child right act 2003 states that no child shall be subjected to any form of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment” Act 2015 is indeed a veritable weapon in this crusade, this recommends that a person who performs female circumcision or genital mutilation or engages in another to carry out such act commit an offense punishable by four years, imprisonment or fine of 200,000 to court.

Our problem is not just domesticating the Act, our problem now is the implementation of this Act, we must rise to the occasion, through our state houses of assemblies, with our governors and traditional rulers and the religious leaders, and ensure that this law is implemented.”

On her part, US Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard stressed that its government has been committed to ending female genital mutilation in Nigeria, hence assuring unwavering support to ensure zero tolerance to the practice.

Experts say female genital mutilation has no health benefit but rather endangers the women with different kinds of diseases which include sexually transmitted diseases amongst others.

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