Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) and Ekiti State government have decried the increasing rate of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the state, saying it would take collective efforts from all stakeholders to curb the trend.
This submission was made at a stakeholders’ meeting of the State Technical Committee on FGM in Ado-Ekiti at the weekend.
Speaking at the meeting, UNICEF Consultant on FGM/C, Mrs Aderonke Olutayo, said UNICEF was collaborating with the state government to provide technical supports to eliminate the practice from the society.
She commended the state government for its determination in putting in place framework for prosecution of offenders, but suggested the need for legal and policy backing from the state government to curb the harmful practice.
According to her, the practice has reached about 72 per cent level in the state with children between ages zero and 15 years being the main victims.
Her words: “At the same time, some communities still practice FGM on teenagers and adults, even up till the marriageable age.”
The UNICEF Consultant identified cultural and traditional beliefs as being responsible for the practice, noting that some people saw it as a family heritage, “but we must stop it.
“Some of those who perform the genital mutilation are unskilled; they do it with primitive and unsterilised equipment and do damage to human parts.
“The World Health Organisation has a law prohibiting this practice and it has been domesticated in Nigeria, particularly in Ekiti State.
“I want to appeal that the laws must be implemented to protect the lives of our women.”
She charged the participants to see the campaign against FGM as an activism to rescue women from an unprofitable traditional practice.