Of the estimated 200 million victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) around the world, about 20 million, representing 10 percent are Nigerians.
This was revealed on Thursday at an event titled Red Card2Female Genital Mutilation (Red Card2FGM) which was aimed at using the power of soccer and other types of sports to raise awareness on the need to abandon female genital mutilation, and to encourage young people, traditional/community leaders, women leaders and girls to stand against the practice.
The event was organised by Devatop Centre for Africa Development with support from Mcginnity Foundation and Pollination Project.
Joseph Osuigwe, Executive Director, Devatop Centre for Africa Development, while delivering his speech stressed how millions of women and girls are affected from the practice which leads to excessive bleeding and pain during after the cut which can result to death of the child involved, if bleeding is not quickly controlled.
He also emphasised the need to build a nation where women and girls will not be mutilated or harmed, and to create a sustainable and creative approach to tackling the practice in Nigeria.
According to him, only three states; Ebonyi, Oyo and Anambra states including the FCT have domesticated the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act in their states, while other states are yet to domesticate the law in their domain.
When asked why sport was decided to create awareness about FGM, he said, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is an issue which affects young people in Nigeria and one of the ways to draw attention of young people is to use what they like.
“We know in the history of Nigeria, sport has been what attracts the attention of young people. That’s why we decided to use sports to get the attention and interest of the young ones and to get them involved in the fight to end female genital mutilation.
“We also chose red card because if you look at the game of soccer, when a player tackles wrongly or harms another player or when he is abusive in the field, he is given a red card which means he written off the game.” Joseph said.
Female Genital Mutilation have done much harm to women and girls in Nigeria, and using this competition to show red card to FGM sends strong message against FGM.