…as NOA, UNICEF partner to combat practice
By Adeola Badru
ABOUT 140 communities in Osun State, over the weekend, renounced the age-long practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), describing the practice as harmful and sinful to womenfolk.
The communities were drawn from three local governments which are Ola-Oluwa Local Government, Ife-Central Local Government and Ifelodun Local Government Areas of the state.
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), however, advised mothers in the state to stop the long practice adding that, there was the need to save female children from the pains being experienced after their genital had been mutilated, saying the practice had cost the deaths of millions of African children.
While speaking during a 3-day public declaration against FGM in three local government areas of Osun State, the UNICEF Consultant for Oyo, Ekiti and Osun States, Mrs Aderonke Olutayo, said a surveillance team that would monitor hospitals, health workers and traditional birth attendants would soon be inaugurated and trained to ensure total compliance and report to the international agency.
She said UNICEF would leverage on the testimonies of leaders in the affected communities to encourage more communities to come on board in the fight against cutting of the girl child.
Mrs Olutayo said the practice had caused a lot of havoc to female children due to the incidences of blood loss and convulsion always suffered by the victims.
The UNICEF boss said: “The practice had been found to be causing deaths of female children apart from infringing on their rights. It is wrong to take away rights of female children just because this mutilation was being done when they have no capacity to fight for themselves.”
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“Our target in UNICEF is to ensure that we must stop the practice before year 2030, so we need your support. We are not going to leave you to this public declaration, we are going to monitor situations here and ensure that you comply.”
Earlier in his remark, the Director, NOA Osun State, Prince Olalekan Adejobi, said the partnership reflected the relentless efforts of the two agencies in ensuring that female genital mutilation practice is totally eradicated in the state in particular and Nigeria in general.
He applauded UNICEF’s giant strides in the fight against those traditional practices injuring the African society and causing colossal damage to generations of female children and for sponsoring the programme to reach the grassroots people who are vulnerable.
Adejobi, recalled that the journey that led to the public declaration started in 2016 with the support of UNICEF.
He said: “In 2016, NOA, Osun State Directorate with the support of UNICEF carried out socio-cultural mapping and geo-referencing FGM prone communities in Osun State.”
“This was carried out in order to get Geographic Information System (GIS) data for independent assessment and evidence-based on monitoring of activities.”
“The information gathered facilitated the access and mobilisation through strategic communities and provision of sustainable platform for conducting social norms, dialogues aimed at FGM abandonment.”
He noted that the outcome of the exercise led to the systematic implementation of community dialogues, training of community champions on the need to totally abandon FGM practices in all ramifications, believing that with the public declaration, nobody in the communities would ever venture into such act, as they have known the legal, social and medical implications.