Genital Mutilation Finally Banned In Nigeria, Women’s Rights Advocates And Supporters Rejoice

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the practice of removing or cutting the genitalia for non-medical reasons. The practice of genital mutilation is abundant in over a dozen countries in Africa, with Ethiopia, Egypt, and Nigeria being the top three countries having the highest percentage of girls and women experiencing genital mutilation.

According to a previous report by the Inquisitr, UN called for zero tolerance for female genital mutilation. In addition, the World Health Organization is also against the act, as it comes with serous health concerns such as bladder infections, open sores, bacterial infection, and hemorrhaging among others.

Now, Nigeria is doing the right thing by banning the act of genital mutilation. The Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 was passed in the senate on May 5, and outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan enacted a ban on genital mutilation before he passed the torch to his successor, Muhammadu Buhari, on May 29, according to a report by Nigeria A Plus.

In a 2013 report from UNICEF, it stated that 19.9 million girls and women ages 15 to 49 have undergone genital mutilation in Nigeria. With the banning of genital mutilation, many are hoping that the act will be lessened and eventually stopped.

Women’s advocate groups rejoiced with the good news. However, they are also concerned that the banning of genital mutilation will not entirely eradicate the problem. The practice of genital mutilation has been around for more than a thousand years, and the act is deeply rooted in many cultures.

The senior director for Amnesty International USA, Tarah Demant, released a statement to Quartz regarding the issue.

“We welcome this ban as we welcome any ban on FGM, in any country. But it’s unclear whether other countries will do the same. We are hopeful this ban will be [coupled] with educational outreach to ensure women have access to their health rights, and are free from violence.”

Stella Mukasa, the director of Gender, Violence, and Rights from the International Center for Research on Women also shares the same views as Demant.

“It is crucial that we scale up efforts to change traditional cultural views that underpin violence against women. Only then will this harmful practice be eliminated.”

The Twitter world rejoiced with the banning of genital mutilation in Nigeria by using the hashtag #VAPPBill.

I hope that each day we progress and become a better Earth. I hope we keep evolving, but wow, this is such a big, beautiful step #VAPPBill

— aidan otoole (@bread_queen) June 8, 2015

With the banning of genital mutilation in Nigeria, women’s rights groups and supporters can only hope that the ban will spread to other nations.

[Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images]