By EMMANUEL MGBEAHURUIKE, Owerri
Law Enforcement Agents and Judicial officers, called upon to work tenaciously, display proactiveness and commitment towards the implementation of the laws guiding against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)and other societal ills inimical to the development of children and women in the society. Even as they have been charged to work in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders, so as to fish out perpetrators of FGM for possible arrest and persecution.
This advise was given by the UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Enugu, Dr. Ibrahim Conteh while presenting an address at the two day Training workshop for law enforcement Agents, judicial officers and community leaders in Ideato North, organized by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) with support from UNICEF held at the local government headquarters, Urualla, Imo State.
According to him, training is key in all human endeavours and UNICEF being a responsible and responsive World agency recognizes the importance of this in the quest to completely put an end to FGM and other forms of violence against children and women.
Dr. Conteh who was represented by the UNICEF consultant FGM, Imo and Ebonyi States, Benjamin Mbakwem stressed that this training programme will equip the security officers and relevant stakeholders with the knowledge in respect of the laws guiding against all forms of abuse against children and women.
He called upon the participants to approach the programme with all forms of seriousness, as this will enable them to transfer the knowledge gained to their various community dwellers who are ignorant of the present law prohibiting this ugly act.
His words “as stakeholders in your various communities, you are ambassadors, expected to give quality representation to the people, listen carefully and impact the knowledge acquired in this programme, make sure you pass on the message to your various communities on the dangers of FGM and all other harmful cultural practices against children and women.
Dr. Conteh expressed optimism that at the end of the training programme, the Law enforcement agents will act swiftly in arresting and persecuting offenders and follow due process in charging the offenders to court without delay, having been abreast with the position of the law in this regard.
He stressed that almost everybody in the communities are aware of the punitive measures put in place by the state government and advised the citizenry to obey the law of the land as any defaulter will be arrested by the law enforcement agents.
Speaking, the NOA State Director, Vitus Ekeocha highlighted that the agency will continue to sensitize the various communities on the ills of FGM and other social vices with the aim of eliminating this ugly trend.
He expressed enthusiasm on the level of awareness in the various communities in respect of their quest to eliminate all forms of violence prevalent in their communities.
Dr. Ekeocha however revealed that communities are aware of the punitive measures that would befall perpetrators and cautioned them to desist or face the wrath of the law.
In his contribution the President General of Umuezeaga Akokwa community, Barr. Calistus Ihejiagwa stressed that the programme has exposed them to things that they were not aware of in the past and opened their eyes into reality.
According to him, the community will put in place machinery to reach the women directly and chart a common agenda towards eliminating this ugly practice.
Lending his voice, the President General Umuopia, Akokwa, Hon. Umunna Solomon highlighted that the task before them is enormous and they will continue to work tirelessly until this practice is eliminated completely.