IN a bid to intensify the fight against female genital mutilation in Ekiti State, the HACEY Health Initiative has organized a capacity workshop and sensitization for survivors and community leaders in Igbemo-Ekiti, Irepodun/Irepodun Local Government Area of the state.
The group through its StopCut project has worked to protect women and girls from FGM by collaborating with key stakeholders, such as state ministries of health, traditional, religious and community leaders, including survivors, to drive the fight towards ending the menace in 2030.
Speaking during the event organized in collaboration with the United Nations Trust Fund in Igbemo-Ekiti , the executive director of Hacey, Rhoda Robinson explained that the workshop became necessary in order to engage the people at the grassroots on the dangers in the practice of FGM in the society.
Represented by the state coordinator of the group, Oluwanifemi Ayeni, Robinson stated that the cases of female mutilation mostly occurred in the rural areas, adding that there is need for the community leaders and survivors to lead the campaign against it.
While expressing regret over the prevalence of the criminal act in the state, the executive director maintained that the group would continue in its series of interventions by collaborating and forming alliance with selected individuals and community leaders who would in turn serve as focal points in the grassroots.
According to her, “The essence of what we are doing here is to sensitize our people in the community, especially the survivors, on the dangers in FGM and how to stop it in our society.
“You know if survivors who were victims of this act come out to campaign against it in the grassroots, it will go in no small measure towards ending the menace in no distant future.
“Our aim is to use these people, including those we called FGM alliance team, to advocate against it and we are hoping to achieve desired results soon through them in this community.”
She pointed out that there is a need for the state government to be decisive in its implementation of the existing laws against FGM, adding that the group would remain resolute in its drive towards ending the practice in the state.
An official of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mrs Toyosi Eleyinmi, and that of the state Ministry of Women Affairs, Tolu Ogunniyi, explained that the negative effects of FGM practice on women and girls are enormous, calling for a stop to it in the interest of the society.
Eleyinmi described the practice as a manifestation of gender inequality, abuse of human rights and a violation to women’s and girls’ rights, which she said could create instability in the system if not stopped.
On his part, Ogunniyi revealed that Ekiti State had enacted anti-FGM law since 2011, which was amended in 2019, saying that the statute stipulates a fine of N200,000 or one year imprisonment for offenders and enablers.