September 22, 2023

A Gender and Development Specialist, Mrs. Jane Agbakwuru-Nzenwa, has warned Osun residents against engaging in female genital mutilation.

She said the existing legislation that criminalises it in the state, adding that anyone caught engaging in it risk going to jail.

Agbakwuru-Nzenwa said this on Tuesday at a community dialogue to commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance on FGM in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the dialogue was organised in Osogbo by the Value Female Network (a non-government organisation), in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund and Osun Government.

She said that FGM had been criminalised by a law of the state House of Assembly with the provision for a fine of half-a-million naira plus four to five years imprisonment.

She further said that the fine was compensation for an affected FGM victim.

Agbakwuru-Nzenwa said that parents that subject their children to FGM and those that encourage or force others to perform FGM on their children (like grandparents) are also guilty of committing a crime under the law.

She further said that hospitals that help parents to perform FGM on their children would equally be prosecuted and shut down, adding that the medicalisation of FGM was also illegal.

Mrs. Aduke Obelawo, the Osun state Lead for Inter African Committee on the Elimination of FGM, delivered a lecture on the negative impacts of FGM on women at the event.

Obelawo appealed to the participants to be champions of FGM eradication in the state.

A nurse, Seun Salami, listed the consequences of FGM to include excessive bleeding by victims, infection (with HIV/AIDS and others), low sex drive, prolonged birth labour, and in some cases death, among others.

Mr. Ademola Adebisi, the Executive Director of Value Re-orientation for Community Enhancement, advised men and young men to be vanguards of the FGM campaign.

Adebisi said that men as the custodians of culture had the power to put an end to FGM.

He urged them to be committed to ending the practice, adding that the resultant effect would bounce back on the men who would marry the circumcised females if the practice continued.

The Gender Desk Officer, Osun Ministry of Woman and Children Affairs, in an address of welcome, said Osun used to have the highest prevalence of FGM in Nigeria.

Adewale said that through continuous and aggressive campaigns (in collaboration with partners), the state moved from 76.6 per cent in 2013, to 49.6 per cent in 2018.

She said the state was targeting zero cases of FGM by 2030

She said that the community dialogue was a strategy to bring the locals on board so that they could help preach and spread the gospel of ending FGM in the state. 

(NAN)

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