By Jane Ikemefula – Abakaliki
Ebonyi State ranked third on Female Genital Mutilation practice, across the country between 2017 and 2019, the National Orientation Agency in the State, has said.
This is even as the NOA noted that within the period, no fewer than 75% of residents of the state, engaged in the obnoxious practice, saying that, “But with the level of awareness” being carried out by the Agency and the United Nations Children’s Fund, the situation climbed down to 50%, in 2020.
The Ebonyi State Director of NOA, Dr Emmanuel Abah, stated this in Imoha village, Nkalagu community, in the Ishielu Local Government Area of the state, during the training of END-FGM community champions in five communities of the Council, held in conjunction with UNICEF, on Wednesday.
According to the NOA boss, there was an urgent need to balance culture and modernisation in order to tackle some of the harmful and traditional factors reinforcing the practice of FGM across the state, adding that it was high time the ugly trend was nipped in the bud to save the future of the state’s unborn generations.
Abah, who listed some of the factors engendering the obvious practice to include fear, traditional myths, silence, ignorance and lack of information, said about 25 persons drawn from five communities of the Ishielu LGA, participated in the training.
He said, “Today, 25 persons from five communities of Iyiulo, Ezzagu, Ezillo, Nkalagu and Ezekuna in Ishielu LGA, will be trained as END-FGM Champions.
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“In the course of your work after this training, you must see the need to balance culture and modernisation, so that you tackle some of the factors that breed FGM in our communities.
“As you are being trained today, don’t allow political influence to becloud your thinking. It is important you help end FGM on the girl
child; it is more than buying them Good and Silver or car.
“Be good Ambassadors of FGM-free society and help save a crisis that is capable of crippling an entire generation, in future.
“Between 2017 and 2019, Ebonyi came third on Female Genital Mutilation, across the country. And within the period, about 75% of
the population engaged in the FGM practice, although it is segmented.
“But the situation has come down now, to 50%, because of the level of awareness we are carrying out with UNICEF.”
One of the facilitators at the training, Mrs Ijeoma Mike-Nwachukwu, who represented the State’s Ministry of Justice, said the practice had led to difficulty in child delivery, infectious diseases and eventual death amongst women, adding that it was for this reason the National Assembly recently enacted the Law on violence against women and girls.
“The Ebonyi State Government has equally established VAPP Law (2018), which has been domesticated in the state also. This is to tell you the level of attention being given to issues like FGM and other GBV practices.
“See the practice in our communities as a problem to be solved, not as a challenge, as you become champions today. You people as ENDFGM champions should help sound a note of warning to the natives that there are laws on ground, which currently prohibit these practices in our communities,” Mrs Mike-Nwachukwu said.