Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Having been ranked second in the country in the practice of Female Genital Mutilation(FGM), Ekiti State government through security agencies have made a commitment for the arrest and prosecution of violators of the State Childâ€™s Rights Act and Female Genital Mutilation Prohibition Law 2002.
Non-governmental organisations under the aegis of New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative(NIGAWD) and Centre for Womenâ€™s Health and Information(CFWHI), signed the pact with the men of the Nigeria Police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC) after a 2-day training workshop held in Ado Ekiti thursday.
The workshop, funded by United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA), held the training for men and officers of the Force drawn from the 16 local government areas of the state on the adverse effects of the practice.
In her presentation, the CFWHIâ€™s Executive Director, Mrs. Adebanke Akinrinmisi, expressed regret on the upsurge of genital mutilation practice in the south-west, in spite of laws prohibiting it.
Akinrinmisi said the training was targeted as sensitising and entering into pact with the security agencies on the need to gather information on perpetrators to stop the practice, she said had damaged the lives of over 200 million population globally.
â€œThe security agencies are very key in the fight against this devilish practice. Though I quite appreciate the fact that the practice was an extension of the gender inequality in our society, it has to stop.
â€œMany lives have been damaged by it. Some have suffered haemorrhage and died, some were infected with lifetime diseases, some suffered prolonged labour and all that.
â€œWe are imploring them to use different networks they use to gather information in all the council areas to arrest and prosecute the promoters. The practice is high in the rural areas of Ekiti.
NIGAWDâ€™s Chief Executive Director, Miss. Abimbola Aladejare , said removal of female genitals confirmed that every female child in the southwest was being treated like slaves in their homes.
Aladejare lamented the non-implementation of the Prohibition of, Child Right Act saying about 20 million girls are carrying the pains of genital mutilation in Nigeria alone, representing 16 per cent of the population.
â€œWe are failing in our fight against FGM because we are not involving the security agencies, who have the power to arrest and prosecute offenders, this we are trying to correctâ€.
She added: â€œThe deep entrenchment of gender inequality in Africa is responsible for high rate of rape, because our men are always hurt when women resist sexual advances from them because of their perceived superior nature.
â€œGender-based fight is not a rivalry between male and female but ways to ensure that society moves smoothly, way to tell our parents that all their children must be treated equally without discriminationâ€, she said.