As the world goes against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), 29 communities in Oguta Local Government of Imo State have reiterated their firm decision to abandon the illegal act especially as the country launches the ‘Movement for Good to end Female Genital Mutilation’.
The event, which was organised within the context of the United Nations Population Fund and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNFPA/UNICEF) Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM in five focus states (Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ebonyi and Imo) was co-led by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Health ensures that the prevalence of FGM is stopped.
The Movement For Good is a whole-of-society and a community-led initiative that will initially target five million – adolescent girls and boys, women, men, traditional birth attendants, community health workers (CHEWS), CSOs, faith-based groups, traditional and community leaders, youth and women-led groups, government and justice sector actors – to pledge towards supporting the elimination of the practice and mobilizing local action using the #Act2endFGM.
In line with the Imo State Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Prohibition Law No. 6 of 2017, the communities in the local government area have publicly declared the abandonment of the practice of FGM and warned those who intended to go back to the practice should be prosecuted.
Again, in an apparent move to stem the high prevalence rate of female genital mutilation in Imo State UNFPA-UNICEF also trained over 106 women leaders as Community Based Child Protection Committee (CBCPC) and Community Surveillance Team (CST).
It was explained that considering the important role women play in the upkeep of the girl child in the society as well as their influence in ensuring the abolition of the female genital mutilation in their various communities, the essence of target group such as CBCPC and the women’s association as the community surveillance team (CST) became necessary.
Their traditional rulers, president-generals, women and youth leaders, and religious leaders while answering questions on the issue publicly re-stated their collective resolutions of abandonment of FGM in all the communities under them.
The Chairman and Secretary of Oguta Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze F.C. Okafor and Eze Albanus Ozuruoha respectively, said female genital mutilation has ceased to be a culture and tradition of the people of all the villages and communities in the local government area.
According to them, we the royal fathers of the various autonomous communities in the Oguta local government and their entire people having been sensitized about the harmful effect of female genital mutilation, and having deliberated during several community dialogues and consensus building meetings, have recognized the immediate and long-term negative health and psychological consequences of FGM on the health of our daughters, wives, sisters, nieces and any other women who is subjected to this very harmful traditional practice.
“We also acknowledge that FGM is a denial of girls’ and women’s ability to fully exercise their human rights and to be free from discrimination, violence and inequality; based on these reasons we have reached a consensus to publicly declare; to leave our girls and women intact, because their beauty is preserved when they remain the way that God created them.
“We set up surveillance systems, in each community, to tract the birth of every girl-child and monitor them to ensure that they are not subjected to FGM, and to handover any community member who engages in FGM to law enforcement agencies for prosecution in accordance with the Imo State Female Genital Mutilation (Prohibition) Law 2017, or any other law prohibiting the practice in the State.
“Based on this public declaration, the practice of female genital mutilation is now forbidden in our local governments.
We, hereby, urge everyone to publicize this decision to all the sons and daughters of the local government as well as our friends and well-wishers in Imo State and beyond”, they stated.
Culled from THISDAY