Some stakeholders in Imo have lauded the interventions of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its development partners in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the state
The stakeholders, drawn from Ehime-Mbano and Ihitte-Uboma council areas of the state, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Monday as part of activities marking the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.
NAN reports that in 2003, the United Nations set aside Feb. 6 to increase awareness and campaigns with the aim of ending FGM.
The theme for year 2023 is : “Partnership With Men and Boys to Transform Social and Gender Norms to End FGM”.
The stakeholders thanked UNICEF and its partners, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA) for their efforts in stemming the ugly practice, saying that the interventions were yielding the desired results.
The Chairman of Ehime-Mbano Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Geoffrey Ejimogu, said that the efforts had resulted in increased awareness about the long-term health and psychological implications of the “ancient” practice.
“We have been able to abolish the practice of FGM because UNICEF sensitised and awakened our collective consciousness and commitment to acceptable healthcare practices in line with global best standards,” he said.
Also, the Secretary of the Council, Eze Boniface Onuoha, of Umunakanu community, said though a few persons were still skeptical about embracing UNICEF’s End FGM campaign, he however, noted that majority of the people had shown commitment to end the practice.
Secretary of Ikpensu Community Women’s Association in the council area, Mrs Agnes Njoku, said “The advocacy anchored on the Imo FGM Prohibition Law No. 6 of 2017 is yielding desired results.”
In the same vein, the Chairman, Ihitte-Uboma Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Innocent Onuoha, said he was satisfied with the level of compliance with UNICEF’s endFGM campaign and added that the UN’s goal of ending the practice by year 2030 was achievable.
He called on the the male folk to join hands with their wives and sisters to end FGM and keep the society free of its “ugly consequences such as urinary problems, infections and child birth complications” among others.
Also, the traditional ruler of Umuihi autonomous community in Ihitte-Uboma council area, Eze Jude Uwalaka, thanked UNICEF for rallying the support of religious leaders as part of its endFGM campaign in rural communities.
NAN reports that the UNICEF, in a statement by its Communication Officer for Media and External Relations, Enugu Field Office, Mrs Ijeoma Onuoha-Ogwe on Monday, called for increased participation by men and boys in its #endFGM campaigns.
According to the statement, the organisation and its partners have, since year 2018, supported the engagement of 807 men and boys’ networks to actively advocate to bring an end to the practice.
“Today is a reminder of the urgent need for even more targeted and concerted efforts to turn our shared goal of ending FGM into a reality.
“We must work together with all stakeholders – including men and boys – to protect the millions of girls and women at risk and consign this practice to history,” the statement read.
It, however, noted that with an estimated 19.9 million survivors, Nigeria accounted for the third highest number of women and girls who had undergone FGM worldwide.
This is with the risk of cutting highest in the first five years – 86 per cent of girls circumcised before age five. (NAN)