Nigeria made history by outlawing female genital mutilation. The ban falls under the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 that was passed in Senate on May 5 and recently enacted into law.
This was one of the last acts by the outgoing president, Goodluck Jonathan. His successor, Muhammadu Buhari, was sworn into office this past Friday, May 29.
Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) is the act of either partially or totally removing the external female genitalia or causing injury to the female genital organs for non-medical purposes.
According to UNICEF:
“More than 130 million girls and women have experienced FGM/C in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the practice is most common.”
With the help of community activism, campaigns and numbers of organizational efforts to end this practice, UNICEF reported that teenage girls were now one-third less likely to undergo FGM/C today than 30 years ago.
Now with the new law criminalizing this procedure, the hope is the ban will fully eliminate this practice and be strongly enforced to combat any existing societal pressures.