Some civil society organisations have urged clerics to seize the Easter period to speak against female genital mutilation (FGM).
The groups said this in a statement issued on their behalf by, Sola Fagorusi, media manager, Onelife Initiative for Human Development.
According to the statement, data from the United Nations reveal that over 200 million girls and women currently live with diverse complications as a result of FGM.
The statement said there are over 20 million Nigerian girls and women with the side effects of FGM.
The side effects were listed to include loss of sex drive, infertility, increased rate of maternal and infant mortality, complications during delivery and inability to control urination because of ruptured organs during cutting.
“Nigerians are a very religious people and clerics have a responsibility to educate their congregation on the effects of female genital mutilation,” Oti Wilberforce of the House of Kings and Priests, Ebonyi state, was quoted to have said.
Maggie O’Kane, executive director, Global Media Campaign to EndFGM, said working to get voices of religious leaders on the media to call for an end to FGM is the single most effective way to end the practice.
O’Kane said though FGM is not a religious obligation, clerics have the power to let the “#FGMNotMyReligion message run faster.”
Fagorusi said the #FGMNotMyReligion campaign is expected to reach over 100 million viewers and listeners across Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Kenya with radio talk shows, TV debates and campaigns planned for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.