UNFPA asks FG to fund anti-FGM campaigns, says COVID-19 escalated cases of GBV
By Ekene Agbor, Osogbo
The United Nations Population Funds in Nigeria (UNFPA) has revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has escalated cases of Female Genital Mutilation and other forms of gender based violence in the country.
The international organisation has therefore called on the federal government of Nigeria and the federal ministry of health to show leadership and commitment to women and girls’ health by having a separate budget line to fund FGM prevention related programmes and provide health support to women suffering from complications of the deadly practice.
Addressing a press conference in Osogbo recently, the Executive Director of a Non- Governmental Organisation in Osun State, Dr Costly Aderibigbe-Sába said UNFPA has reached out to 1,100 girls who are survivors of FGM and other GBV and distributed kits to them.
According to Aderibigbe-Sába, in a bid to save girls from FGM and other harmful practices during the pandemic, UNFPA sponsored a sensitisation Programme in 44 Communities in the state throughthe COVID-19/FGM Girls’ Survival Project.
Among the kits distributed to the girls are bags, sanitary pads, towels, soaps, hand sanitizer, bowls, nose masks among other leaflets bearing information about FGM to further enlighten the girls.
Aderibigbe-Sába said the girls are residents of rural and head to reach communities drawn from eleven local government areas and 44 Communities. Part of the girls are rape victims and teenagers with pregnancies.
She added that the VFN, through the support of UNFPA, organized FGM advocacy dialogues with 460 community leaders and all communities have decided to abandon FGM practice with some taking a step further by producing and erecting a permanent sign posts against FGM practice in the communities.
According to her, “the United Nations Population Funds in Nigeria (UNFPA) supported the distribution of 1,100 survival kits to 1,100 survivours of FGM and other forms of gender based violence across 44 communities and 11 LGAs in Osun State through the COVID-19/FGM Girls’ Survival Project. We therefore call on the federal government of Nigeria and the federal ministry of health to show leadership and commitment to women and girls’ health by having a separate budget line to fund FGM prevention related programmes and provide health support to women suffering from complications of FGM.
“The harmful effects of FGM and other forms of gender based violence must be recognized by everyone, we therefore call on the federal and state ministries of education to ensure integration of comprehensive sexuality education into School curriculums giving a new generation of young Nigerians to take a stand against Gender Based Violence.
“COVID-19 pandemic has escalated cases of Female Genital Mutilation and other forms of gender based violence, we therefore call on Osun state government and other states yet to domesticate the VAPP law(A law that clearly defines penalty for various forms of gender based violence including FGM) to domesticate the law and ensure it’s implementation.”
Aderibigbe-Sába commended the UNFPA Nigeria for supporting the project. She also thanked the State Operation Coordinating Office in Osun State for their support in ensuring that the project was successfully carried out across 44 Communities.
Also speaking, the coordinator of the Girls Protection Project, Miss Damilola Amoo said among the beneficiaries are those with teenage pregnancies, orphans, FGM survivors, persons living with disabilities among others.
Amoo also commended SOCU for its assistance in ensuring that VFN reached the girls in the rural Communities.
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