As part of efforts to address the issue of female genital mutilation in Nigeria, the Oyo State House of Assembly will pass a bill aimed at checkmating the practice in the state before the end of May.
The state Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimbo, disclosed this yesterday in Ibadan, during the high-level meeting on female genital mutilation organised by his wife, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, in conjunction with Action Health Incorporated (AHI) and United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA).
He said the administration is highly committed to tackling the issue, noting that the state would not hesitate to bring the full force of the law to bear on anyone found guilty of any acts of mutilation, harmful traditional practice or act of violence.
Ajimbo stressed that the elimination of female genital mutilation is a specific target under goal number five of the Sustainable Development Goals, adding that as a government, they would ensure that all the requisite laws and policies are put in place and enforced in order to achieve this goal.
He explained that the female genital mutilation was outlawed by the United Nations in 2012, and by the virtue of the Violence Against Persons Act 2015 was signed into law during the last administration, adding that it has become a punishable offence in the country along with other harmful traditional practices, “There is an existing legal structure to lend credence to this call for the elimination of female genital mutilation in Nigeria,” he added.
Ajimbo added: “According to a United Nations report, Nigeria has the highest number of female genital mutilation cases in the world. This accounts for about a quarter of the 125 million cases identified worldwide. It is sad to note that Oyo state is one of the five states with the highest number of female genital mutilation cases. This indeed calls for sober reflection on our part.
“Let me state here that even though the legal framework has been put in place to fight this menace, we must now support it with deliberate action by seriously advocating for a culture shift. Community leaders have a role to play in bringing this issue to its knees.
“As influencers of thoughts and opinions of the people your community, you must be able to initialise, enforce and sustain the message of zero tolerance for the issue in your various communities by enlightening them about the dangers of this unwholesome practice.”
“We must also take note that while advocating for a culture shift, the personal advocates of this gruesome act must also have a rethink and a mind reset in order for the laws passed to become effective. They must have a change in attitude to stemming from a personal conviction of the incalculable harm that is done to victims of these acts of mutilation.”
(Source: THIS DAY)