Ado-Ekiti — The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has advocated for the prosecution of people still involved in the age-old practice of female genital mutilation in the Ekiti state.
The head of UNICEF for Ekiti, Osun, Oyo states, Mrs Aderonke Olutayo who frowned at the continuous practise of the act in the state, noted that the international organisation would collaborate with the government in the arrest and prosecution of the practitioners.
She spoke in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital at an event organised in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) for the public declaration by the people towards the elimination of FGM in communities in the state capital.
At the event, about 24 practitioners from Ijigbo, Odo-Ado, Irasa communities of Ado-Ekiti publicly abandoned the operation of female genital mutilation.
Olutayo explained that the FGM practice was obsolete and should be discontinued in the interest of a female child, saying it portends great physical and psychological danger to the child.
According to her, ” FGM prevalence rate for women aged 0-14 years, and 15-49 years in Ekiti State is 47.9% (NDHS ,2018) the second highest in Nigeria which is well above the national prevalence rate of 20.0%. This means that 5 out of every 10 women in Ekiti State are affected living with the negative consequences of the practice, which undermines their physical, emotional, and socio-economic wellbeing.
” We have been moving around talking to stakeholders be including religious leaders on the need for our people to stop FGM in the society.
” More success has been recorded but we need more and we are calling on the government to ensure people are arrested and prosecuted because there is law in Ekiti. By next year, we will begin aggressive efforts in this regard and we only need one person to go to jail for others to run from it.”
On his part, the state Director of NOA, Mr Bankola Fadahunsi said the agency would continue its advocacy across communities in the state on the need for people to shun FGM.
The Ekiti state Director of Law review, Mr Adegboyega Morakinyo said the government was committed to ending the practise with the signing into law against the crude act perpetrated against the girl child.
He revealed that whoever arrested would be sentenced to one year jail term with payment of N200,000 fine.
Vanguard News Nigeria