Lawyer Calls for Stricter Laws against FGM
Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
A legal practitioner, Barrister Tolulope Adeoti, has stressed the need for stricter penalty for perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to stop its prevalence in the country.
This is just as she described FGM as a violation of the right of females while charging all stakeholders to rise and stop the practice.
Adeoti while delivering a paper titled, “Policies and laws for government officials on female genital mutilation”, at a Capacity Building Workshop for Stakeholders on FGM, lamented the harmful effect of the practice, stating that the time has come for major stakeholders to continue to mount pressure on government at all levels to enact laws that will increase penalty for perpetrators of FGM.
She enumerated the various sections of the law that seek to sanction perpetrators of the act, adding however that claim of ignorance would not be accepted in the law court should anyone be caught in the act.
The Oyo State Coordinator of FGM, Mrs. Balikis Olawoyin, on her part, said the practice exposes girls and women to more health issues with an irreversible implications, stating that it is high time Nigerians stopped the practice and help prevent future health complications that might arise for today’s girl child and women folks generally.
Olawoyin in her paper, titled, “Basic facts about FGM”, pointed out that the society thought that FGM is a way to protect women against being promiscuous, but that it has been discovered not to be true, calling for the support of stakeholders in a bid to put an end to the practice.
She said, “Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is extremely harmful to the body of girls and women. It is now time Nigerians desist from such practice because the negative effect of FGM is irreversible.
“FGM has no known benefit. It has immediate and age-long term consequences. It is an extremely harmful practice. The damage caused is irreversible. The society thought that FGM is a way to protect women against being promiscuous, but we discovered that it does not. We do not know when it started. It does not discourage women from being promiscuous. It has no benefit. So, the media should help us spread the message to the people at the grassroots. We appeal to the religious leaders, traditional rulers, men and to stop this act”.
Olawoyin who disclosed that Oyo State is one of the states with highest prevalence rate of FGM in the country, stating that the capacity building workshop became necessary in order to sentisize members of the public on the negative effects of FGM.
A representative of Hacey Health Initiative, Emmanuel Oni, in his remarks, said, FGM is a crime in Oyo State, noting that anyone caught engaging in the practice would be prosecuted in line with the recent laws passed in the state.
“With these laws, the government has given us the go ahead to officially prosecute any perpetrator of FGM. The passage of these laws has given us the support to work with security agencies to ensure that we bring this practice to an end”, he said.