Wife of the Governor of Lagos State & Founder, Hope for Women Initiative in Nigeria (HOFOWEM); Mrs. Bolanle Ambode (4thright); wife of the Governor of Oyo State, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi (m); rep. of Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris (3rd right); SA. Primary Healthcare, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga (2nd right); Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi (right); wife of Oyo State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Janet Adeyemo (4th left);
HC for Youth, Sports & Social Development, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf (3rd left); PS. Ministry of Health, Dr. Modele Osunkiyesi (2nd left); and Exec. Director, Action Health Incorporated, Mrs. Adenike Esiet, during the “High-Level Meeting on Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation” tagged #zerotolerance4FGM, organized by HOFOWEM in collaboration with Action Health Incorporated, at Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, 29th November, 2016.
With Olasunkanmi Akoni
Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State has called for zero tolerance for female genital mutilation alongside his wife and founder of Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative, HOFOWEM, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, who also called for a multi-disciplinary approach to ending the practice while stressing that the effort would involve legislations, professional health organizations, women empowerment and public sensitization.
They both made the call in Alausa, Ikeja, at a high-level meeting, organized by HOFOWEM in collaboration with UNICEF, UNFPA and AHI, to discuss the worrisome practice. The governor was represented by his commissioner for health, Dr. Jide Idris.
He said, ‘It is surprising that 45 out of every 100 adult women living in Lagos State have undergone FGM at one time or another as reported in the National Demographic Health Survey 2013.This is largely due to migration from those states where the prevalence is much higher.’
Founder of HOFOWEM, Bolanle Ambode, noted that female genital mutilation was a brutal and gruesome procedure that had no medical or emotional benefit for the girl or woman.
According to her, the practice had been perpetuated through time by tradition, which erroneously tied the practice to family honour, hygiene, fertility, protection of virginity and prevention of promiscuity.
She said: ‘Female Genital Mutilation is recognized worldwide as a fundamental violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women.
‘It is also a violation of a person’s right to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death, she stressed.
Bolanle urged mothers to stop subjecting their daughters to such willful brutalization just for fear of the daughters being shunned by tradition.
She listed the negative consequences of female genital mutilation to include excessive bleeding, extreme pain, infections, possibility of infertility and outright bareness.
In her opening remarks, the representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Nigeria, Ms. Beatrice Mutali, copiously praised the efforts of the wives of the governors of Lagos, Osun, Oyo and Ekiti State for championing ‘accelerated advocacy and action towards the abandonment of FGM’.
Also speaking, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, HRM, Oba Kabiru Sotobi, condemned the practice, contending that desired attitudinal change must begin from the communities.
Others in attendace included the wife of the governor of Oyo State, the representative of Senator Oluremi Tinubu, APC South West women leader, Mrs. Kemi Nelson, commissioner for youth and social development, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, Hon. Lola Akande, representative of the iyaloja general and many others.
Meanwhile, wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, and wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, have stressed the need for women’s empowerment initiatives in the quest for development of the country.
They made the remarks at the flag-off training for 2,200 women in income generating activities aimed at enhancing the economic power and standard of women for nation building.
The event, the second phase in the series, held in collaboration with Future Assured Programme, a pet project of Buhari and the National Directorate of Employment, NDE, was held at Ikeja Police College, Ikeja, Lagos.
Others in attendance include: Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, wife of President of the Senate, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, wife of Speaker House of Representatives, Mrs. Gimbiya Dogara, wives of Governors of Oyo, Ogun, Edo, Osun States, Florence Ajumobi, Funsho Amosun, Betsy Obaseki, Sherifat Aregbesola, respectively, among others.
Speaking, at the occasion, Buhari recalled that on the 10th of September, 2016, at the pilot flag off in Katsina, 200 unskilled and unemployed women were recruited and trained in over 10 different skill sets, leading to immediate income generating ventures.
“I was informed that more women showed commendable passion to acquiring the skills on offer; that we were oversubscribed. We ended up training and empowering 300 women,” she said.
The lessons learnt from the initial outing according to Buhari, strengthened the resolve and determination to do more for the women in Lagos.
Governor Ambode, represented by his deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, commended the initiative of President’s wife, saying it will go a long way in reducing unemployment among female folk.
“I am sure, a lot of women will be lifted through this programme and also increase their productivity in economic growth of the nation.
“We will continue to support programmes and initiatives aimed at empowering women,” he said.
Ambode also enjoined the beneficiaries to make best use of the skill acquired to better the lot of their families and the nation at large.