Home LEAD STORIES 24 Imo Communities Openly Denounce Female Genital Practice

24 Imo Communities Openly Denounce Female Genital Practice

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Twenty- four (24) communities in Oguta Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo on Friday openly denounced the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) promising not to revert to it again.

The communities along side thier traditional rulers made the declaration in Oguta LGA Headquarters in the presence of the representatives of UNICEF, the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the Human Rights Commission and the Ministry of Gender and Vulnerable Groups.

In the declaration paper read on behalf of the communities, Eze Frankline Okafor, , the Ottachereoha 11 of Ossemotor and Chairman of Oguta Council of Traditional Rulers said that FGM had ceased to be a culture and tradition of the people of the 24 autonomous communities in Oguta LGA.

They communities also pledged to leave their girls and women intact, as thier beauty is preserved when they remained the way that God created them.

“We the Royal Fathers of the 24 autonomous-communities in Oguta Local Government Area, Imo State, Nigeria, and the entire people of Oguta with over 307 villages having been sensitised about the harmful effect of FGM, and having deliberated during several community dislogue and consensus building meetings;

“Have recognized the immediate and long-term negative health and psychosocial consequences of FGM on the health of our daughters, wives, sisters, nieces and other women who are subjected to this very harmful traditional practice.

“We also acknowledge that FGM is a denial of girls’ and women’s ability to fully exercise their human rights and be free from discrimination, violence and inequality,” the paper read in part.

The UNICEF Enugu Field Office representative, Mr Victor Atuchukwu, a Child Protection Specialists, congratulated the Oguta people on behalf of UNICEF adding that the South East had showed a lot of commitment to the fight against FGM.

He expressed gratitude that the declaration came from the traditional rulers saying that there was need to consolidate the declaration by initiating a survellence team that would monitor activities of people expecially pregnant women in the communities.

The State Coordinator, National Orientation Agency (NOA) Mr Vitus Ekeocha went into memory lane of the journey to abolish and abandone FGM in the community.

He said the public declaration is a moment of broad social recognition which showed that most people in the community, supported FGM abandonement and most likely would abandone the practice.

Ekeocha said the declaration is a significant decisive step in the campaign to end FGM.

“For communities to willingly decide to abolish any tradition or culture, such communities must have consistently participated in dialogue session and further delibrated in their sub-groups before reaching a consensus for every segment to come out puplicly on any date chosen by them to stamp-out such tradition having recognised the harmful effects of such practice on their girls, daughters, sisters, wives and mothers.

“What we are witnessing today, is the outcome of various engagements, dialogue and advocacy meetings with critical segments on the immediate and long-term negative health and psychosocial consequences of FGM on the health of girls and women in the 24 autonomous communities by various partners and Civil Society Organisations(CSO).

“The journey towards ending FGM began in 2015 when UNICEF supported NOA to collaborate with Imo State Ministeries of Health, Gender and Social Development, Information, and Child Protection Network to embark on the campaign, promoting the rights and positive perception of the girl-child who has not undergone FGM ‘as whole, healthy in body and mind, unharmed, intact and untouched” using the slogan “OdiNma Nwanyi Bu ka chi siri kee ya.”

Ekeocha noted that the Ministry of Gender and Vulnerable Group Affairs through the Childs Rights Department was supported by UNICEF to inaugurate LGA Techinical Committee on FGM(LTC) in Oguta LGA in Sept. 2017.

He said the ministry had also trained prosecutors, the judiciary, police and lawyers on FGM practices and extant laws that prohibit the practice with the view to ending the practice in Oct. 2017.

Dr Blessing Azubuike, who represented the Commissioner for Gender Affairs and Vulnerable Group, said the declaration showed that the sensitisation on FGM had yielded the desired result.

She noted that the aim was for the protection and well being of the girl-child and women adding that Oguta is now one of the LGAs that had registered its agreement on stopping FGM.

Mrs Ukachi Uka, State Coordinator, NationaL Human Rights Commission said that FGM is against the rights of the girl-child, inflicts pain and an infringement on her right to freedom from tourture.

She also said that the practice degrades the dignity of the human person, rights to survival and urged the community to abide by the declaration.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 24 communities that openly declared the abandonment of the FGM include Obeabor, Ndiulokwu, Mgbala, Mgbele, Ndionyemaobi, Uguta, Ossemotor and Egwe.

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