Press freedom in Nigeria is limited, but social media is being employed as a tool among younger people to speak out against FGM. Girl Generation is a global campaign which employs social media campaigns to end FGM in 10 African countries.
A report released on Tuesday this week showed that 20 million women in Nigeria have undergone female genital mutilation to date, despite its ban last year, accounting for 10 percent of the global total.
FGM that has been shown to cause infertility, maternal death, infection, and loss of sexual pleasure was outlawed by the Nigerian government outlawed last year under the Violence Against Persons Act.
Anti-FGM charity ’28 Too Many’ suggests that the prevalence of FGM in Nigeria is almost 25 percent in women aged between 15 and 49 years old. Typically, FGM occurs among wealthier, better-educated women living in urban areas. However, most of these women are unlikely to have their daughters operated on and are in favour of discontinuing the practice. The opposite is true of women from poorer, more rural backgrounds who are more likely to be in favour of FGM for their daughters, though they may not have undergone the procedure themselves.
While the FGM procedure varies, 82 percent of women say they underwent FGM before they were 5. In many cases, women are taken from urban areas to more rural ones to undergo the operation.
“Young people may not have access to traditional or print media but they feel engaged on social media” said Girl Generation member Nwachukwu.
Activist Jaha Dukureh played a key part in bringing about the ban in Gambia and believes that FGM is tied up with cultural and religious factors that will take time to end its occurrence totally.
“No one single person can end FGM and FGM is not an isolated issue from other violence that women continue to face on a daily basis” said Dukureh
Though FGM is not dictated by any religious script, 15 percent of women and almost 25 percent of men in Nigeria believe it to be required by their religion. The biggest religions in Nigeria are Christianity and Islam.
For more information go to: http://28toomany.org/countries/nigeria/