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Osun and Ekiti have been identified as the leading states in Nigeria in the practice of female genital mutilation and cutting (FGMC), experts have stated.
The experts, at a sensitisation programme in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital at the weekend, also announced that no fewer than 120 million females are carrying the negative effects of the act across the globe, saying it had no known benefit to the victims.
At a sensitisation and "Edutainment" programme held at the Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado Ekiti, the experts lamented that over 71 per cent cases are reported in Ekiti, ranking the state second only to Osun in the prevalence of the harmful practice.
They charged the crowd of young people at the programme to go out and join in the campaign against the act, pointing out that FGM had done more harm to women that had been cut.
The experts at the programme by The New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative (NIGAWD) and funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), disclosed that many of the 120million victims are either carrying lifetime infectious diseases like HIV, had suffered barrenness, hemorrhage, broken home due to s3xual non-satisfaction and other associated problems due to the cutting of their genitals.
Executive Director of NIGAWD, Abimbola Aladejare and Director, Centre for Gender Development, Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado Ekiti, Professor Kemi Ogundana, said the programme was meant to mobilise the younger generation against the practice and charged that the end to the practice should be now.
Prof Ogundana described genital mutilation as "a flagrant infringement of the rights of the female gender," and urged the government at all levels to stop the menace in the overall interest of motherhood.
At the programme tagged: "Join Me to stop Female Genital Mutilation", the state Commissioner for Information, Youth and Sports, Mr Lane Ogunsuyi, explained that the state had domesticated the law banning the practice in Ekiti and warned that anyone caught still engaging in the practice would be prosecuted.
Ogunsuyi lamented that Ekiti was second highest only to Osun State in the act and charged the womenfolk, whom he described as "the real victims" to intensify their campaign against cutting of the female genitals, to create more awareness.
The Permanent Secretaries in the state's Ministries of Health and Women Affairs, Dr Ayotunde Omole and Mrs Peju Babafemi, respectively and a prominent Nollywood actor, Miss Juliana Olayode (aka Toyo Baby of Jenifa's Diary fame), all joined in the campaign to sensitise against the scourge.
The experts said "cultural and traditional beliefs are responsible for the devilish practice and some people see it as a family heritage, but we must stop it. Some of those who perform the genital cutting are unskilled. They do it with primitive and unsterilised equipment and do damage to human parts.
"The World Health Organisation had a law prohibiting this practice and it has been domesticated in Nigeria, particularly in Ekiti State. I want to appeal that the laws must be implemented to protect the lives of our women," he said.
Aladejare said as a survivor of the practice that she could not forget the psychological imbalance she always suffered each time she remembered the level of dehumanization being experienced by the victims.
She said those who practised the act were hiding under the myth that retention of the female clitoris can cause promiscuity and stillbirth, which she said had been proven wrong by medical experts.
Source: Tribune Online