Stakeholders have sought the implementation of the law against the practice of female genital mutilation to aids quick and total elimination of the menace in the country.
This was the submission of relevant stakeholders at the weekend during a 2-day webinar conference organized by a non-governmental organization, HACEY Health Initiative with support from Access Bank to commemorate 2021 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
The wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Mrs. Bisi Adeleye Fayemi, while speaking at the conference, tagged ”No Time for Global Inaction: Unite Fund and Act to End Female Genital Mutilation” said that Ekiti state has adopted local solution to eliminate FGM by introducing ‘Drop the blade for Wealth’ where the state government empowered 120 women who dropped Genital Mutilation tools for sustainable empowerment.
On her part, Olori Silekunola Naomi Ogunwusi said addressing illiteracy and poverty will go a long way for zero tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria.
Similarly, Oyo State Commissioner for Health. Dr. Bashir Bello described FGM as a societal problem that is being enabled by poverty, illiteracy, and a dearth of adequate information. Dr. Bello explained that Governor Seyi Makinde led administration is also taking steps to end Female Genital Mutilation across the state. He Attributed the existence of FGM in the society to a culture which according to him has overridden the law, making it difficult to identify and perhaps punish the perpetrators accordingly. ” He went ahead to say that a seven-year jail term has been prescribed as a penalty for anyone who mutilates.
In his words, “In Oyo State, we have been focusing on the mothers, grandmothers who see FGM as a thing of honor to let them know that the practice is a crime. Oyo state government has also involved the ministry of health, women affairs, justice, education, and State House of Assembly in the fight against FGM and also put the practice among issues that can be described as violence against women. Therefore, we are urging the victims to cry out, particularly their parents so that we can jointly reduce the menace to the bearest minimum if not totally eliminated. “
Furthermore, the UNFPA Country Director (Nigeria), Ulla Elizabeth Mueller, said over two million girls risk genital mutilation across 36 states of Nigeria. Mueller, therefore, called for synergy among critical stakeholders to end Female Genital Mutilation in the country.
The representative of the security agencies, Osun State Commissioner of Police, CP Olokode Olawale (psc), said the conspiracy of silence contributed to the inability of the Police to arrest perpetrators of genital mutilation, noting that the people see it as family affairs. Olokode thereafter called on citizens of the country to report cases of abuse on the girl child and others to the police.
While speaking, the Executive Director, HACEY Health Initiative, Rhoda Robinson, said the conference was organized to step up awareness about FGM and get stakeholders’ support to protect the girl child against the barbaric act.