Joint European Union, United Nations (EU-UN) funding Spotlight Initiative has expressed concern over the poor and weak enforcement of anti-female genital mutilation (FGM) laws in Nigeria.
The organisations said ignorance and limited knowledge of the harmful nature of female genital mutilation as well as existing laws against the practice has continued to pose a challenge to the fight against the prevalence of FGM.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) child protection specialist, Mr Victor Atuchukwu, made the disclosure during a four-day media dialogue with practitioners on ethical reporting and advocacy to eliminate violence against women and girls in Cross River and Ebonyi states.
The programme was organised by the European Union- United Nations Spotlight Initiative in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Information.
Atuchukwu said that part of the problem associated with the prevalence rate includes the deeply entrenched cultural practice that persist in many Nigerian communities due to a myriad of sociocultural beliefs that vary across communities with regional and ethnic variations in prevalence.
In his remarks, Barrister Mike Aja-Nwachukwu of Ebonyi State Ministry of Justice lamented the increasing cases of violence against women and children in the state and called on the media to rise up to the challenge by effectively reporting the cases and following up on them.
She raised the alarm over increase in child stealing in the state and said that the ministry has recorded over 30 cases.
“Children are being abused and the perpetrators are living in our environment, what are we doing about it as media practitioners?
“Children are being stolen and mothers suffer it most. What have you done about it as journalists? In our ministry, we have over 30 cases of stolen children, child stealing is on the increase in our state”, she said.