A Non Governmental Organization (NGO), HACEY’s Health Initiative has charged media organizations and other relevant stakeholders to join the struggle to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The NGO called for this on Tuesday at a capacity building workshop for Oyo State stakeholders on FGM Policies and Law, held in Ibadan.
The workshop was designed to improve the capacity of individuals, agencies, media and Non-Governmental organisations on existing FGM/C Laws/Policies and FGM/C advocacy.
While speaking, one of the speakers, Mrs Oluwakemi Olawoyin said that the Stop Cut Project aimed to help reduce the prevalence of FGM by improving law enforcement systems and enhancing public knowledge and awareness via strengthened collaborative efforts championed by critical stakeholders.
She explained furthered that Hacey Health Initiative gave her overview of how over 120 million girls and women alive today in 29 countries in Africa and the middle East have been a victim of female geniatal mutilation, and how the prevalence of FGM is 24.8% and about 20 million women and girls are reported to have been mutilated of cut.
Her words: “The Stop Cut Project aims to reduce the prevalence of FGM by improving law enforcement systems and enhancing public knowledge and awareness via strengthened collaborative efforts championed by critical stakeholders.
“The overarching goal of the project is to protect women and girls from FGM/C through: increased knowledge of the prevalence, contributory factors and level of policy implementation of FGM/C, strengthened capacities of established, End FGM alliance on policies, reportage and enforcement of FGM/C related practices, increased public awareness of FGM/C practices, policies, laws and risks associated with FGM/C practice towards positive behavioural change.”
Barr. Tolulope Adeoti, in her submission on policies and laws against FGM/C explained that there are numerous laws to bring justice and most importantly to end the act in our society.
Adeoti said: “The various calls by the bilateral organization and several African protocols inspired Nigeria to take concrete steps towards the eradication of FGM backed by the law. Although Nigeria had signed the United Nations General Assembly resolutions in 1989 and adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1994, there was no documented local Act or legislation against FGM/C until 2003, when the Child Rights Act (CRA) was passed in into law. The law contains provisions that outlaw this practice.”
“There was the National Health Act in 2014. The National Health Act (2014) contained a section that states that ‘a person who commits an offense regarding the removal of tissue will be punished under section 48(3)(a) with a fine of N1 million or imprisonment of not less than two years, or both’”
Comrade Jadesola Ajibola, Chairman Nigeria Association of Women Journalist, Oyo state spoke on the importance of media in fighting FGM/C as it is a tool of advocacy against the act and a lot can be used to achieve through it.
“It remains the responsibility of media to educate, inform and entertain the public, however the media can be use to fight against female genital mutilation by letting the public know complications of having our female gender go through the FGM/C.” she said.
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