Female genital mutilation has officially been outlawed in Nigeria. Outgoing President Goodluck Johnson signed the bill into order, and incumbent Muhammadu Buhari will uphold it.

Under the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act of 2015, which aims to stop psychological, sexual, and physical violence towards women, the practice is now condemned. 

UNICEF reports that currently 130 million women and girls have undergone the procedure, which fully or partially removes the exterior female genitals. The practice is common in many African and Middle Eastern countries as a right of passage into womanhood, or in some cases to decrease sexual desire. 

The risks of FGM include recurring bladder infections, hemorrhage, open sores, infections and infertility.

Stella Mukasa, director of Gender, Violence and Rights at the International Center for Research on Women says this is a huge step towards dismantling cultural stigmas. She says, "It is crucial that we scale up efforts to change traditional cultural views that underpin violence against women. Only then will this harmful practice be eliminated.”

Cover image: Wikimedia Commons