To save girls and women from extreme pains and discomfort due to female genital mutilation (FGM), the community leaders of Isu and Njaba Local Government Areas of Imo State, have come together and resolved to eliminate age long cultural practice identified as harmful to their wellbeing in their families, kindred, villages, communities and local governments.
The people unanimously passed the resolution during a two-day sensitisation tagged “Local Government Community Dialogue Forum with Community Leaders for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation”, held separately at Umundugba, and Nnenassa headquarters of Isu and Njaba Local Government Councils organised by National Orientation Agency (NOA) in conjunction with the United Nations Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF).
The spokespersons for Isu and Njaba Presidents-General, Prince Jineme, who represents Umundugba community and the Woman Leader of Ibeneme Community, Mrs. Kelechi Aguegbulam, agreed to carry the sensitisation to all the nooks and crannies of their areas for proper dissemination of the message.
The leaders also agreed to enlighten their people of the dangers of female genital circumcision and the need to eliminate the practice which they said is inimical, to ensure that reports on FGM are adequately sent to the appropriate authority for immediate action, to mobilise security personnel to apprehend and sanction defaulters, build an effective communication channel, just as women should ensue to talk to their fellow women especially at gatherings, festivals or events to keep them abreast of FGM negative effects and off course abstain from its practice.
Contributing, Presidents- General and Woman Leader of Isuobishi, Oboro Amurie, Ibeoma Ekwe and Amurie Omenze communities, Chief Ejiofor Cosmos Chinyere, Comrade Eddy Iwuji, Paulinus. O. Ihezuruike and Mrs. Ike Basilia respectively, reiterated their consensus to outlaw female genital mutilation with a view to saving their females from agony.
According to them, “let awareness against female genital mutilation be intensified among women in the hinterlands and this should be done during festivals or events, in churches and markets.
“Nurses who hack females in the name of circumcision are non- certified nurses who are not properly trained to carry out any medical duty.
“UNICEF, NOA and other relevant agencies are doing well in their advocacy on the elimination of FGM and other harmful traditional practices in Imo communities, villages and families especially at the remote areas.”
Reminding the people of the prevalence of FGM in Isu Local Government Area, hence the enlightenment program sponsored by UNICEF, Vitus Ekeocha, State Director, National Orientation Agency, charged the people to entirely reject the practice of FGM as promised in order to allow their women deliver easily, as well as enjoy their marriage and their children.
Ekeocha pointed out that “FGM has no benefit to girls and women. So, allow your females to be as God created them. FGM is an obnoxious cultural practice.
“Hence we earlier met traditional rulers of Isu and Njaba local government areas who promised to talk to their subjects of the importance of ending the scourge.
“We are happy to see all the leaders of the 16 communities in Isu and 21 communities in Njaba come to terms with UNICEF to abrogate female genital mutilation”.
Affirming that the awareness program mainly sponsored by the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) is an avenue for people and victims of FGM to pour out their grievances, pains and experiences, UNICEF representative, Chigozie Orjiaku, stressed that the advocacy increases the “knowledge of community leaders in prevention and response to violence against children and violence against women and girls”, advising the people not to mutilate any part of the female organ either by application of hot- water, ointment, massaging, pressing or cutting.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Njaba Local Government traditional council, Eze Anthony Ndubueze Onyeka, said his office would ensure that all relevant stakeholders key into the policy of the state toward the complete eradication of FMG, which had over the years become a source of pain to girls and women in the state.
Recall that FGM is one of the most harmful prevailing practices known to human race since the end of the era of human practices like human sacrifice, killing of twins and slavery.
NOA with support of UNICEF is working with federal and state governments, especially in the southern states where the practice is most prevalent, training partners, creating awareness at all levels and working with communities to convince practitioners and community members to promote an end to the practice.