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UNICEF raises concern over high rate of female genital mutilation in Nigeria

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Sunday said there has been an increase in female genital mutilation especially among girls aged below 15 years in Nigeria.

In a statement, UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins said that the rates have risen from 16.9% in 2013 to 19.2% in 2018.

According to him, “female genital mutilation remains widespread in Nigeria. With an estimated 19.9 million survivors, Nigeria accounts for the third-highest number of women and girls who have undergone it worldwide.

Although the national prevalence of female genital mutilation among women in Nigeria aged 15-49 dropped from 25% in 2013 to 20% in 2018, prevalence among girls aged 0-14 increased according to NDHS figures.

“An estimated 86% of females were cut before the age of five, while 8% were cut between ages five and 14.

“Female genital mutilation 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” Hawkins added.

UNICEF added that “at least 200 million girls and women have been subjected to female genital mutilation and 68 million girls remain at risk by 2030”.

Editing by Tina Oyinsan