Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State Government, in partnership with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), have formed a synergy against the prevalent practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Ekiti and other states of the federation.
The Gender/Family Planning Coordinator in the Ministry of Health, Mrs Olukemi Akinleye, while reading the Act on behalf of the government during the inauguration of the Local Technical Committee on Female Genital Mutilation, in Ikere-Ekiti on Monday, said the practice had wreaked a lot of havoc on many marriages.
She tasked fathers and mothers-in-law to assist relevant stakeholders in prevailing on their wives and daughters in the society to stamp out female circumcision.
Akinleye stressed that the involvement of the head of every house andmothers-in-law in stopping the scourge became imperative due to the fact that no woman would circumcise her child without the consent of the father.
She reminded the committee members that a law against the Act had been enacted since 2002 in the state, but stressed that lack of sensitisation has hampered the enforcement of the child right law.
She said: “A law to prohibit female circumcision or genital mutilation, No 6, 2002, Ekiti State of Nigeria, titled: Female Circumcision (Prohibition) Law, enacted by the House of Assembly.
“No person shall circumcise or mutilate the genital organ of any female child, whether or not her consent is obtained. Any person, who performs the operation of FGM, coerces, entices, induces, any person to undergo female circumcision or caused her genital organ to be mutilated is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N10,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years in the first instance and to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years without an option of fine for every subsequent conviction.”
Akinleye thanked UNICEF for partnering with the state government at ensuring that the FGM is reduced to the barest in the state, and appealed to the committee members to take the task as a personal project which must be achieved.
Addressing the members, the UNICEF representative in Ekiti, Osun and Oyo States, Mrs Aderonke Olutayo, identified Ekiti as the second highest prevalent rate with 74 per cent in the South-west, after Osun that has 77 per cent rate.
She said that the survey by the fund revealed that the prevalence is high in six local government areas of Ekiti State, including Ekiti West, Ikere, Ado, Ido/Osi, Ikole and Ekiti Southwest.
Olutayo gave the prevalence rates as Ekiti west — 85.2, Ekiti Southwest — 82.3, Ikere — 79.5, Ado-Ekiti — 68.1, Ido/Osi — 65.8 and Ikole — 46.4 per cent.
She also made different illustrations showing the violation of female child rights through the cutting of the female genital organs in a film showed to the committee at the inauguration to show the extent of damages done to the female child.