By Wisdom Olobayo
The NCBI confirms that “Nigeria has the highest absolute number of cases of FGM (female genital mutilation) in the world, accounting for about one quarter of the 115–130 million circumcised women worldwide”. Although the prevalence rate is waning, it still stands at about 41% in a place where it shouldn’t even exist.
As at the year 2019, statistics say that approximately 38% of Nigeria’s out-of-school children are girls (source: EduCeleb). In more definite context, “States in the north-east and north-west have female primary (school) attendance rates of 47.7% and 47.3%, respectively” (source: UNICEF). This means that more than half of the female children population are not in school.
Between 2012 and 2018, Statista confirms that 18% of females in Nigeria were married BEFORE the age of 15 while about 44% of females were married BEFORE the age of 18.
In all honesty, there is a very high chance that the actual facts and figures of these problems are grossly underrepresented in the statistics above. This proves to be true, drawing from the many cases of women being hushed by shame and stigmatisation from speaking about their trauma or about their various society-imposed challenges.
Many men and women in recent years have made excuses to not be part of the fight to give women the rights and opportunities they are entitled to as full human beings in the society (A.K.A the feminism movement), because they don’t think these problems are that deep. But the facts speak for themselves. They tell us that we have a lot of collective work to do in changing the potentially bleak future of the average Nigerian girl.
You, do not be like those people who never see a problem until it’s their sister or cousin who is circumcised, or out of school or made a child bride. Believe this report, because it’s many people’s reality. Stand up. Advocate for a better reality for all women. The fight cannot end yet.