From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha says the ancient practice of female circumcision has been outlawed in the state, warning that offenders risk jail terms without an option of fine.
Okorocha, who stated this yesterday, during the official launch of the campaign against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) disclosed that a bill to that effect would be passed into law by the state Assembly .
According to him, such barbaric culture, which is harmful and not beneficial to the people, ought to be abolished, noting that Imo was still one of the states in the South East where female circumcision was widely practiced.
“ This harmful ancient practice has been outlawed in this state and a bill to put a permanent stop it will be passed into law very soon and let me warn those who are still indulging in this practice to be ready to go to jail if caught because there would no option of fine,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the wife of the state governor, Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha, who initiated the campaign in collaboration with the United Nations Fund for Population Agency (UNFPA), said women in the state have vowed to put an end to the barbaric practice which is not beneficial to the girl child.
Mrs. Okorocha further explained that the continual practice of Female Genital Mutilation must be stamped out in the state, especially in the rural areas, where the practice is prevalent and led to emotional trauma, broken homes and even death.
The Country Representative of UNFPA,Mrs Beatrice Mukta, disclosed that the organisation has been campaigning against the practice in most African Countries where the practice still subsist.
She commended wife of the governor for her relentless fight against FGM, noting that the battle against the ancient practice which is steeped in cultural myth may not be an easy one. she appealed to traditional institutions as well as women in the state to support the campaign.
Mrs. Okorocha had kick started the campaign against FGM/ Cutting with a protest match in which over 500 female students drawn from various schools in the state and women participated.