A non-governmental organization (NGO),One life Initiative for Human Development and Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) have urged the governments to put an end to female genital mutilation.
They made the call in Ibadan during a programme tagged:”End Female Genital Mutilation Poster Art Competition Award Ceremony”.
Speaking on the rationale behind the campaign, the Programmes and Media Manager,One life Initiative for Human Development, Mr. Sola Fagorusi said the idea is to reduce the prevalent level of female genital mutilation in Nigeria.
Continuing ,Fagorusi stressed :”To ensure that the next generation of mothers won’t indulge in mutilation. The global figure says that 200 million girls have actually been mutilated . 10 per cent of the statistics is in Nigeria. The implication of this is that 20 million girls have been mutilated”.
Speaking further on the effects of FGM, Fagorusi pointed out that it makes the female to suffer from shock which may result in death.
He further said it could cause obstruction for women in labour and difficulty in delivery and Vesico vagina Fistula.
He said:”According to Director General of Vesico Centre in Ebonyi. Ebonyi is number two in term of national ranking FMG.
It has psycho-social effect where the woman doesn’t enjoy sexual union with her husband and cause broken home”.
Puncturing the insinuation that if a female is not mutilated, she would be promiscuous, Fagorusi said:”Promiscuity has nothing to do with mutilation. We are talking about character and value system. If parents bring up their children properly then we won’t be talking clitoris or any part of the body responsible for indulging in female genital mutilation.
“And again,the girl will not be promiscuous with herself”, saying sexuality education should be given to boys and enlightening the boys in a way to protect their wives.
He also faulted the belief that When a child’s head touches the clitoris the child will die , but saying medical experts said that doesn’t have anything to do the delivery.
“Also, they claim that it is part of our religions as instructed in the Qur’an and the Bible,we go out with clerics, Pastors and I. mams on our advocacy campaigns. No part of the holy books that say a female must be mutilated.
On the claim that is part of culture, Fagorusi said,”Culture is dynamic and changes with civilization. This is not to discountance the quality and importance of culture but we are saying that in this particular instance culture does not stand especially when there is no medical verification”.
He said there are laws such the Child Right Law 2006 in Oyo State, the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act,2015, and Violence Against Women Prohibition Law Oyo State 2016 which all frown at the practice.
“We are saying despite all the laws people still antagonise you when you go for advocacy in places like Kajola,Oyo,Ogbomoso and others”, he remarked .
Consequently, Fagorusi called government to bring an end to the practice, adding that ,”Government needs to do more in tern of intervention”.
His words:”National Orientation Agency (NOA) as part of its mandate should look into harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and early child marriage and enlighten the people.
“In addition, government needs to use the media by sponsoring programmes and complementing what NGOs are doing”.
Speaking from legal perspectives, Barrister Ronke Ige from Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) described it as a family crime, saying there are various legal provisions locally, nationally and internationally to seek redress on the matter.
Quoting relevant laws such as Violence Against Persons. Prohibition Act 2015; Violence Against Women Prohibition Law Oyo State 2016 Sec.6 (1) and punishable under sect. 6 (2), Ige said no person shall be subjected to torture or to in human or degrading treatment.
According to the legal mind, it is against Cap 1V Section 34 (1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution which talks about dignity of human beings.
She called on the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related matters (NAPTIPP) which is mandated to administer the provisions of this Act and collaborate with the relevant stakeholders including faith-based organizations (NGOs).
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