NOA, UNICEF battle genital mutilation



By Bolanle Lawal

In continuation of the campaign to stop the deaths of millions of African children, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and UNICEF have taken the fight against Female Genital Mutilation to the grassroots.

The agencies have advised mothers in Ekiti State to stop the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and tried to convince the women on the harmful results of the practice to the womenfolk.

NOA and UNICEF were at a public declaration against FGM in Orin Ekiti, Ido/Osi Local Government Area of the state.

They emphasised the need to save female children from the pains experienced after the mutilation of their genitals.

The wife of Ekiti Governor, Mrs Bisi Fayemi, noted that that there was a subsisting law prohibiting the act.

She warned that anyone caught engaging in it, would be dealt with in accordance with the law of the land.

Mrs Fayemi expressed regret that Ekiti has one of the highest prevalent rates of FGM in Nigeria, in spite of the state’s prowess in education.

She said that the government of Dr Kayode Fayemi placed high premium on the protection of human lives and would work with the traditional and religious leaders to stop the practice in the state.

“Our people have agreed that this practice is unhealthy and dangerous and they are ready to put a stop to it.

“We have so many traditions to protect such as respecting our traditional rulers and leaders, but this FGM is one of those practices that had set us back as a state.

“These days, people no longer kill twins or bury people alive with a dead king; since we have stopped those ones, we must also stop FGM.

“We are number one in education and one of the best seven states in Nigeria in Agriculture.

“Also in HIV prevalence, we are number 36 in the country. All these are good records; but being ranked third in FGM is not a good one and it is right to adjust our ways in this regard.

“Don’t forget that Ekiti has a law prohibiting this practice but it has not been well implemented.

“I don’t want you to be made a scapegoat, because if you are caught, government will not save you from prosecution.”

The governor’s wife appealed to UNICEF to empower rural women and youths to complement its fight against FGM and other scourges in the state.

She said making the population economically viable was relevant in this fight.

In her remark, UNICEF Consultant for Oyo, Ekiti and Osun states, Mrs Aderonke Olutayo, said Ekiti was ranked third in the country in the FGM menace.

She said concerted efforts must be made to end the practice in the interest of the female children.

According to her, the practice has caused a lot of havoc to female children due the incidences of blood loss and convulsion always suffered by victims.

Olutayo added that following the community’s pact with UNICEF, a Community Champions and Surveillance Committee would be set up in the town to monitor compliance and reports made to the international agency.

“The practice has caused the death of female children apart from infringing on their rights.

“It is wrong to infringe on the rights of female children because this mutilation is done when they have no capacity to fight for themselves.

“Our target in UNICEF is to ensure that we stop the practice before year 2030. We need your support.

“We are not going to leave you to this public declaration, we are going to monitor situations here and ensure that you comply,” she said.

In his remarks, the NOA Director in Ekiti, Mr Dayo Famosaya, said the fight against FGM began in Calabar, Cross River, four years ago due to the pains and anguish the practice had done to female children.

Famosaya applauded UNICEF’s giant strides in the fight against traditional practices injuring the African society and causing colossal damage to generations of female children.(NAN)

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