The Circumcision Descendants Association of Nigeria (CDAN) has suggested that, as a way of curbing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the government should provide an alternative means of livelihood for their members. This announcement was made at a summit held in Ibadan to advocate the end of FGM in Nigeria, on Monday.

In Nigeria, there were several campaigns against Female Genital Mutilation and the practice was eventually banned in May 2015, however, statistics show that FGM is still actively practiced across the country. FGM, also known as female circumcision, is the removal of the external parts of the female genitalia, which is considered harmful to girls and women alike. Seen as a cultural norm, FGM is predominant in some parts of the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. It is also practised in select countries in Asia and Latin America.

The highest prevalence of FGM in Nigeria is in the south-south region of the country, followed by the south east and south west. These alarming statistics have attracted global attention and more international health organisations are partnering with Nigeria in order to put an end to the harmful practice. These collaborations have not been able to solve the problem effectively because the campaign failed to reach the grassroots, where people who really practice FGM are. Corrective measures, policies and legislations aimed at ending the practice should be targeted at the areas where FGM is prevalent in order to spur a behavioural and cultural change. However, enlightening FGM practitioners may take a lot more than policies and legislations.

According to Premium Timeswhich interviewed an activist, Gift Abu, providing another source of income for the circumciser will help to minimise the occurrence of FGM, particularly in the rural areas. “They do it for money, it’s their livelihood. They’ll tell you it’s what keeps my family, it’s what I use in training my children and feeding. So money is very important for those who don’t have what to do. Some of them don’t have any other thing they are doing apart from circumcision. It’s like a profession to them. So leaving the practice, it’s like where will they start from?”

CDAN noted that FGM is “a case of demand and supply,” however, the refusal of the supplier, who is the circumciser, which could bring an end to the demand is largely dependent on money. The association has therefore asked the government to set up a programme for them in order to limit the effects on the loss of revenue.

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