Nigeria Urged To Fix Legal Mess Around Female Genital Mutilation

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Nigeria Urged To Fix Legal Mess Around Female Genital Mutilation

<br>A quarter of women in the West African country have undergone the agonizing ritual, which can cause serious health problems. Most girls who have the procedure are cut before the age of five, according to a report on Nigeria’s FGM laws by campaign group 28 Too Many. - Although Nigeria introduced a federal law banning the internationally condemned practice in 2015, it only automatically applies in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja. Other states have to pass mirroring laws. However, the study showed only 13 out of 36 states have outlawed FGM with penalties ranging from modest fines to five years’ imprisonment.<br>
<br>"It’s shocking to see that so many states still don’t have laws. This is something Nigeria needs to sort out if it’s serious about ending FGM," said Ann-Marie Wilson, executive director of 28 Too Many. Researchers said enforcement of the law was generally weak and found no evidence of any FGM prosecutions even though some states banned the practice more than 15 years ago. Nigeria accounts for a tenth of the estimated 200 million girls and women globally affected by FGM, which usually involves the partial - or total removal of the external genitalia. Although the ancient ritual remains deeply entrenched in some southern regions, more than 60 percent of Nigerians say it should end, according to the study facilitated by TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s legal pro bono service.<br>
<br>Researchers said Nigeria’s law failed to provide a clear definition of FGM, did not stop parents taking children to other countries to be cut and did not address a growing global trend for nurses and midwives to carry out FGM. National data suggests about 12 percent of Nigerian girls undergoing FGM are cut by a medical professional rather than a traditional cutter. Laws in other countries like Burkina Faso and Senegal stipulate that medical professionals who perform FGM should face the maximum penalty. The report also highlights concerns that a clampdown could push parents to have their daughters cut in neighboring countries.<br>
<br>Unlike some other African countries, Nigeria has not criminalized cross-border FGM. Researchers said inconsistencies in Nigeria’s state laws also created a risk that parents in a state which had outlawed FGM could take their daughters to a state which had not. "We need to push for consistent laws and enforcement across the whole of Nigeria, otherwise people could get away with it simply by traveling to another state," said Wilson. Reporting by Emma Batha, Editing - by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's - rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change.<br>
<br>The president must take personal responsibility for the dilapidated state of his party. The president has forgotten to change his party. The main opposition, the PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY, was in tatters for a long time. Bereft of ideas, suffering from chronic grief reaction, it discarded all restraints and took to opportunism. Often the PDP acted like it had a country somewhere it would govern, after it had helped anarchists set this one ablaze. The PDP that once championed inclusiveness now looks away while its leaders preach hate and division. They fueled rumors of President Buhari’s death. They promoted rule of law by taking sides with suspected looters of the treasury.<br>
<br>They dismissed facts , promoted cynicism, and peddled fears. They went after the president but failed to isolate him from his ethnic group. So his ethnic group was so often demonized. The opposition is entitled to vitriols and acidity but not at the expense of nation building. It cannot damage the credibility of every national institution in a bid to spite the president. The PDP diminished itself. Shortsightedness didn’t let go for the moral high ground. The ruling party portrayed it as the party of looters of the treasury. Rather than clear its throat and condemn corruption the PDP preoccupied itself talking about selective justice and victimization. But the PDP’s major problem is the delusion that it would automatically regain power once it portrayed the ruling party as impotent. So the PDP routinely cries wolf.<br>
<br>And when it sheds true tears about the wanton killings it doesn’t feel obligated to tell the frustrated public - what coherent strategy it has formulated to contain the menace if elected. The PDP has not sold any economic program to the public. The PDP assumes that the public is conversant with its pedigree. But that pedigree is a rejected pedigree. The PDP has failed to realize that it needs to re brand and re market itself with new bold ideas. The PDP prefers transformation to change. But it needs to undergo one quickly, any one. A FRAGILE ECONOMY AND ITS GINGERLY GROWTH. The economy has limped out of recession. - It grew at an average of 0.8% last year. The rate of growth is slow, estimated to hover around 2% this year. Cote D’ivoire is growing at 7 %. Economic diversification is perhaps easier trumpeted than achieved.<br>
<br>But Oil’s projected imminent redundancy has created a new urgency for diversification. Oil’s contribution to the GDP has been dwarfed by Agriculture but Oil contributes 90% of foreign - exchange earnings and the economy is still precariously import dependent. A crash in oil prices or production could be very calamitous. We would need nimble utilization of available resources and massive foreign direct investment to fill our huge infrastructural deficit, without which we may never get out of the woods. Foreign capital importation has risen by 500%. Foreign exchange supply has improved. Naira has retained some stability. Foreign capital inflow is still all ‘hot money’. Foreign direct investment has improved only marginally. The country must seek to attract the much needed foreign direct investment needed for sustainable growth. The IMF has endorsed CBN’s handling of the foreign exchange system but hinted that a more transparent mechanism would be needed subsequently.<br>
<br>The CBN still operates two exchange windows. Our foreign reserves are growing steadily. It’s at near 50 billion dollars. That provides some cushion in the event of a turbulence. But our debts are piling up. Debt to GDP ratio has crossed 18% but is still within manageable limits. Debts are not harmful if used on projects that have multiplier effects on the economy. The public service is unwieldy. This government has weeded off more ghost workers than any government in history using Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). - The government must trim and reform the public service to meet the needs of a modern economy.<br>
<br>Our recurrent expenditure leaves nothing for infrastructural development. So the recourse is to loans. Inflation has fallen from 19% in January 2017 to 12.5% in April this year. There are therefore many signs of improvement. But commercial lending to the real sector has not improved. The lending rates are still prohibitive. The federal government is struggling to create room for the private sector that was crowded out by government’s domestic borrowings. The central bank has retained monetary policy rate (MPR ) rate at 14 % to maintain dollar inflow . Such a rate,however, cannot support sustained growth. The CBN data shows that Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index has shown expansion for 13 consecutive months. And Employment level index has expanded for the 12th consecutive month.<br>
<br>But unemployment rates have hit through the roof. The improvement in the economy needs to be more inclusive. The ordinary people on the street reel from hardship and high prices of basic commodities. That’s the change we need. The IMF warns of the fragility of the economy and the need for urgent diversification. The government has widened the tax net. About 6 million new tax payers have been added in the last two years. That is commendable. Nigeria seeks to move Tax: GDP ratio from 5% to 15 %. That will put the economy on a firmer footing. The Federal Inland Revenue Service has markedly increased revenue generation.<br>


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