By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, says she is worried over the harmful practice of breast ironing meted out on girls in various Nigerian communities, and has vowed that the Federal Government will not rest until it stamps out the negative trend believed to be in practice especially in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Barrister Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye gave the assurance during an advocacy and sensitisation visit to Garki Chiefdom, Abuja Municipal Council in the nation’s capital.
“Breast ironing, which is being practised on some young girls as traditional rites meant to prevent early male attraction, rape, among others, are practices that are totally unacceptable and form part of condemnable and harmful practices against the female gender which must be stamped out,” the Minister said in a statement signed by her Special Assistant (Media) Ohaeri Joseph.
She expressed displeasure over the crude culture practiced on teenage girls residing at Kpaduma and Pygba communities in the FCT, citing damaging and health impacts of such harmful practices on girls and nursing mothers.
Kennedy-Ohanenye said the government will upscale efforts at eradicating the ‘barbaric act’ with attendant negative effects on the welfare of the girl child.
The statement classified the practice as falling under gender-based violence, even as the minister solicited the partnership of the Garki District Heads and other local authorities towards eradicating the practice she says negates the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu aimed at improving the welfare of women and the girl child.
“This age-long tradition could lead to cancer on the affected girls as it is capable of leading to nipple challenges in their future life as well as the production of sour breast milk for their infants which is dangerous to the growth and development of new born babies,” says the minister.
The District Head of Garki Chiefdom, His Royal Highness, (HRH), Ambassador Emmanuel Gade, assured support that will bring to an end the harmful tradition.