Has anyone ever been prosecuted for FGM in Nigeria?
Female Genital Mutilation is recognised by law in Nigeria as a harmful traditional practice. The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law 2015 prescribes a punishment of 4 years imprisonment and or a fine of N200,000 for perpetrators. For the various states that have legislation in forms of the VAPP Act and also as part of the Chlld Rights Act, the punishments even though they differ still exists.
But the real question is – Has any one been prosecuted for performing Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting in Nigeria before. Recently in Kenya, 70-year-old Lokwalap Chemelsau who was jailed in 2016 for performing FGM completed her prison term. It was a good pointer as to what the law can do to halt the continued stride of FGM in Nigeria and several parts of Africa where the practice still persists on the excuse of culture. She returned from prison acknowledging that she “is now transferred.”
It is unclear in Nigeria if anyone has every reported an FGM violation in a police station in Nigeria and more importantly if the police has ever led the prosecution of anyone either in the urban or rural area. With a population of over 198 million spread across a land mass of almost a million kilometre square, Nigeria is a huge country to police effectively. FGM and the law in Nigeria is a delicate conversation.
Later this month, we will be sending a Freedom of Information request to the office of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris at the Louis Edet House, Abuja to request for information on prosection of FGM in Nigeria. For readers who are not familiar with the Freedom of Information Act 2011. It is a law to enable open government and allow for accountability in public institution and government institutions are bound to respond within 7 days but not later than 14 days. The information from the IG will guide us as to new direction in our work to ensure FGM ends in this generation.
We’ll keep you updated.