By Rotimi Ojomoyela, ADO-EKITI
A United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, female genital mutilation, FGM, consultant, Mrs Oluronke Adetayo, has said Ekiti State was ahead of other South-West states in FGM prevalence, while Imo State leads nationwide.
Adetayo urged stakeholders to do everything possible to stop the act, which she said was violence against children, especially the girl-child.
Also, Ekiti State government, on Monday, said FGM practitioners, who refused to abandon the practice, risk one-year jail term.
READ ALSO: Female genital mutilation, worst human rights violation in Nigeria — UNICEF
The Executive Secretary, Ekiti State Bureau of Chieftaincy Affairs, Adegboyega Morakinyo, and Adetayo made the statements at a one-day stakeholders’ engagement on FGM, facilitated by UNICEF.
Morakinyo disclosed that the state enacted anti-FGM law since 2011, which was amended in 2019, saying the statute stipulated a fine of N200,000 or one year imprisonment for offenders.
The stakeholders, which include Ekiti State council of traditional rulers, market women, religious leaders, students and top government functionaries, agreed that the practice had damaged the reproductive health of many Nigerians and destroyed their marriages.
For Adetayo, “Ekiti has the highest prevalence rate in the South-West, having overtaken Osun that was leading in 2013, with Imo State rated highest in Nigeria.
“No force can come from Abuja and stop FGM in Ekiti, except the locals themselves led by our traditional rulers, religious leaders, market men and women, women groups and students, stop this harmful practice.
“In 2013, Ekiti has 72 percent prevalent rate, but in 2019 it reduced to 57.9 percent, which was not enough. We still have to work harder.”
She described the practice as a manifestation of gender inequality, abuse of human rights and a violation to women and girls, which she said could create instability in the system, if not stopped.
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