The United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says six out of 10 women between 15 and 49 years in Oyo State are victims of genital mutilation.
Dr Olasunbo Odebode, Representative of UNICEF in-charge of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria, disclosed this on Thursday in Ibadan.
Odebode spoke at a public declaration of FGM abandonment by 21 communities in Oyo West Local Government area of the state.
According to Odebode, a Child Protection Specialist, mutilation prevalence rate for women between 15 and 49 years in the state is 55.5 per cent, the fifth highest in Nigeria.
She said the affected females live with the negative consequences of the practice, which undermined their physical, emotional and socio-economic well-being.
She described FGM as a harmful traditional practice, a gross violation of the fundamental human rights of women, which seriously compromised their health and psychological well-being.
”FGM is not only harmful but also against nature as it destroys the wholesome and beautiful way women and girls are naturally created.
”It poses increased risk of infection or prolonged labour, bleeding, still-birth and maternal death during childbirth as well as leaves lasting physical, emotional scars and an irreparable damage,” Odebode said.
She said FGM was a social norm and that people practice it because they believed that others in their community do it.
She urged stakeholders to collaborate in the campaign to end its menace in their respective communities.
Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu, Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA) in the state, said the agency had carried out series of programmes to sensitise the public on the effects of female genital mutilation.
Dosunmu commended traditional and community leaders in the area for dropping the age-long practice.
Oba Lamidi Olayiwola, the Aalafin of Oyo, promised to support UNICEF and NOA efforts in eliminating the practice in the state.
The monarch, represented by Chief Yusuf Akinade, the Basorun of Oyo Kingdom, charged community heads to sensitise people in their domain on the negative effects of the practice.