The practice of female circumcision is widely known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Nigeria in the past had the highest absolute number of cases of FGM in the world accounting for about one quarter of the estimated 115-130 million circumcised women in the world.
FGM is practiced in about 28 African countries as well as in a few scattered communities in other parts of the world. It is one of the most serious forms of violence against the girl child/woman and is practiced in Nigeria.
The practice is founded in traditional beliefs and societal pressure to conform. The government of Nigeria in the last decade recognized the practice as harmful to children and women and have embarked on corrective measures, aimed at addressing the end of the practice openly and energetically, through the formulation of policies programmes, legislation and behavioral change that has currently impact reduction in prevalence.
I am very happy to say that the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill sponsored by the Leader of the Senate, Victor Ndoma-Egba has been passed by the Senate.The bill seeks to prohibit female circumcision or genital mutilation, forceful ejection from home and harmful widowhood practices.The bill also prohibits abandonment of spouse, children and other dependents without sustenance, battery and harmful traditional practices. It is also intended to eliminate violence in private and public life and provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims of violence, and punishment of offenders. The bill equally prohibits economic abuse, forced isolation and separation from family and friends, substance attack, depriving persons of their liberty, incest, indecent exposure, among others.
This is certainly good news!