In a bid to strengthen partnerships to achieve zero practice of female genital mutilation in Nigeria, HACEY Health Initiative, yesterday commenced a two-day capacity building for relevant stakeholders to further improve knowledge and implementation of policies to end the menace.
Speaking at the event, held at Plaza De Aruna Hotel, Oyo town, the Executive Director of the organization, Rhoda Robinson, stated that the training was aimed at building the capacity of FGM Alliance members to understand some strategic policies and also share ideas on how to end FGM across different states of Nigeria. She also explained that the program will further improve knowledge and implementation of policies that will protect women from FGM in the society.
In her words: “We are improving the knowledge and implementation of existing policies and laws that protect women from FGM in our society. And as part of this, we are working with stakeholders across the different sectors and generational age groups to ensure that we have a more inclusive approach to ending FGM and that is what today’s event is all about. It is a two-day capacity session meant to build the capacity of FGM Alliance members to understand what these policies are, what they need to know, bring out and share ideas on how we can actually solve FGM across different states”
“One of the things we are looking at is creating an actionable plan that all FGM members who are sharing the same vision of ending FGM can advocate for policy implementation, educate community members, engage men and boys in ending FGM.”
In his remark, the Commissioner for Health, Oyo State, Dr.Bashir Bello, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Muftau Ayoola, called for adequate awareness on the consequences of FGM for local circumcisers to quit the barbaric act as well as those who patronize them.
He submitted that the act could lead to excessive bleeding from the female genitals, cause a vesicovaginal fistula, and other complications, which could result in death.
Also at the event, the Director, National Orientation Agency, Oyo State, Mrs. Folake Ayoola, while speaking, emphasized the need for the practitioners to desist from such practice and take up another legal job as means of livelihood.
She warned practitioners to desist from such practice, saying that anyone caught in the act will be made to pay a fine of N500,000 or risk four years imprisonment. She said: “We are trying our best. We are sensitizing people in all nooks and crannies of Oyo State, telling them the ills of female genital mutilation, which should be stopped. We are alerting them to the fact that there is now a fine of N500,000 or four years imprisonment for anybody that still practices that.
“We just have to convince them that the practice does no one any good, especially the female children but to look elsewhere for what they can regard as their livelihood. The stipend they get from this barbaric act is not enough to feed them. So, we have to discourage them, appeal, and persuade them. We can also suggest other ways to them whereby they can hook up to as their livelihood” She said.