Stakeholders in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting FGM/C in Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State yesterday advocated banishment, heavy fines, seizure of properties and other traditional punishment for those who still engage in the act of mutilation of females and other harmful practices against women.
The Stakeholders who made their position known during a 2 day training of FGM/C community champions organized by the United Nations Children Fund UNICEF in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency NOA with the theme Accelerating the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Ebonyi State held at Ukpa Civic Center, Afikpo.
Some of the stakeholders who described the act as barbaric and man inhumanity to man insisted that apart from government effort in stamping out the ugly trend, they would compel the different community leaders and the traditional institution to make bye laws that would ensure that perpetrators are apprehended and make to face severe punishment.
According to a community leader, Mr. Egwu Gabriel Agha who hails from Ibii/Ozizza Community stated that the act has both immediate and long term harmful effects which he said includes, severe and unnecessary pain, difficulty in passing urine, heavy bleeding pelvic infections, fracture or dislocation due to restrains, infertility and loss of normal sexual function.
Other harmful effect includes, risk of contracting infections such as HIV and Hepatitis B, problem in child birth, leaking of urine or faeces or Vesico Vaginal Fistula, VVF, Recto Vaginal Fistula, RVF, painful intercourse, mental and psychosomatic disorder among others.
Mr. Agha said that with the training and sensitization, members of the group are now equipped to move into the hinterlands and educate the people on the need to shun such act adding that as champions, they would not hesitate to report perpetrators to the appropriate authority.
Another trainee, Mrs. Roseline Chukwu from Nkpoghoro community stated that rather than coercing the people, they would adopt dialogue pointing out that with such approach, the people would imbibe and accept the change.
Mrs. Agha further urged the relevant authorities to ensure that the FGM/C are included in the school curriculum to enable school children have better knowledge of the harmful act and commended the Wife of the Ebonyi State Governor, Mrs. Recheal Umahi for her determination in stamping out the act.
In his address, the State Director, National Orientation Agency, Ebonyi State, Chief Emma Abba said that duties of champions include, facilitating the identification of community networks, groups, influential figures to advocate FGM/C abandonment and to conduct interpersonal and community dialogue on FGM/C abandonment.
Chief Abba urged them to conduct house to house visit to counsel vulnerable girls and their families pointing out that such campaign would go a long way in sensitization of ignorant families on the dangers of the act.
The stakeholders after the 2 day training unanimously condemn out rightly any form of FGM/C in the state but only encouraged male child circumcision.
According to them: “we advocate proper legislation against this ugly trend and urged appropriate government agencies to impose sanctions on defaulters. That th Royal fathers will introduce traditional laws against the practice of FGM/C in all autonomous communities in Ebonyi state”.
“We give full support to Ebonyi State Government in the actualization of this dream and promise on our part to give grassroot sensitization and to check the practice in our various communities”.
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