UNICEF Expresses Optimism Towards Ending FGM\C In Ebonyi

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By Obinna Ogbonnaya, Abakaliki

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), yesterday express the optimism that with the commitment and zeal exhibited by traditional institution, the clergy, youth organizations and women groups of Amechi community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM\C), Ebonyi State would soon attain zero tolerance in the campaign against the ugly trend.

Speaking during a community dialogue in Amechi Community in the state, the Senior Adviser, Child Protection, UNICEF Nigeria, Mrs. Fatuma Ibrahim said that from her observations while the dialogue lasted and the determination shown by the people of the community, the people of Ebonyi state have shown enough commitment and are ready to do everything to ensure that the practice is brought to an end in all parts of the state.

Mrs. Ibrahim who expressed happiness with the resolutions made by the traditional institution, the clergy, women groups and the youths to end Female Genital Mutilation was an encouragement to her that the dream of the programme would be realized adding that the fight against FGM\C must be taken to every corner of the state as no one should be seen still engaging in the practice in the state.

The UNICEF Child Protection Senior Adviser said that she was in the community to witness the community dialogue adding that the fight against FGM\C must involve everyone including students whom she described as change agents in the schools, families, churches and among peer groups.

She further stated that culture is dynamic and that any culture that affects human lives, endangers the lives  of innocent people, does not bring development must be abolished pointing out that before now, twins were seen as taboo but today, twins are now blessing.

According to her; “I came to Enugu for another official function but when I was informed of the community dialogue, I decided to come down here to witness the dialogue and I must tell you that I am impressed with the commitment of everyone stating from the traditional ruler down to the youths. Everyone shown commitment in the campaign and believe that if we all will take the massage home and to our different families, FGM\C will soon be a thing of the past”.

‘’UNICEF is committed in the campaign to end FGM\C and we will continue to collaborate and encourage every community to ensure we eliminate the act. What happened here today is an indication that you people are ready to put an end to the act and I tell you, FGM\C does not do anyone any good rather it bring pain and even death to the victims. So must all join hands together to eliminate it from our families, communities and state and we will all be better for it”.

In an interview with LEADERSHIP, the Regent of Amechi community, His Royal Highness, Eze Ignatius Elebe said that part of the resolution of the community against perpetrators of the act includes, paying of N50,000 fine, parading the perpetrator round the village, excommunication from community meetings, church activities and women meetings among others.

The traditional ruler further pointed out that the community would not hesitate to hand the person over to the necessary authorities after they might have melted their own punishment on the perpetrator stressing that a town announcer would from today go round the village to announce to the people the resolution taken by the community as a committee would be set up to monitor and fish out perpetrators of the act.

Earlier, the State Director of the National Orientation Agency, Dr. Emma Abba said that the State government through the Ministry of Health during a meeting recently warned that any doctor or health worker who still engages in the practice or found to be practicing FGM\C would have his or her license withdrawn adding that with the warning, the practices of medicalisation of the practice would also be eliminated.

Dr. Abba commended UNICEF for its support in the fight against the ugly practice and urged the people of the community to put what they have resolved into practice as that would bring the needed result to the campaign against FGM\C.