By Brendan Umoren
The Chief of Field Office, United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, Enugu field office, Dr. Ibrahim Conteh, has emphasised the need for government and other relevant agencies in the country to intensify the fight against Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting to avoid the dangers women face after the act.
Dr. Conteh made the declaration in Enugu during a One-day Sub Zonal media briefing organised by UNICEF in collaboration with Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State, BCA Umuahia with the theme, “Translate Political Decisions into concrete actions at the grassroots to reach the goal of zero tolerance to female genital mutilation by 2030”.
Dr. Conteh noted that Ebonyi and Imo states still have the highest prevalence rate of female genital mutilation in the southeast and called on the media to help in the fight against the ugly trend.
He noted that though the agency has made tremendous success in the two states by curtailing the menace through its programmes and policies expressed the concern that more efforts should still be put in place to end the ugly trend.
He stressed the need for more emphasis to be made on the dangers associated with the act adding that apart from the health challenges which includes tissue damage, broken bone, infertility and increased risk of fistula, there are right of life, right of freedom, from torture and cruelty which the act also violates.
He urged the Media to step up their campaign by increasing the awareness on FGM and ensure that perpetrators of the act were arrested and prosecuted.
Conteh further maintained that though there have been political will by the different government in the country, he noted that such political will, would amount to nothing if the political will are not translate into action.
According to him most states have passed FGM into law but until now no one have been prosecuted or jailed pleading with the both private and government at all levels to join hand with UNICEF to totally eradicate FGM in the country.
Conteh noted that the practice of FGM remain a social norm that was being fuelled by myths, preconceptions and diverse ignorance about social expectations adding FGM is a violation of woman’s reproduction rights, puts her life at risk and is harmful to not only to her but also to her unborn child.
“As you may be award now, FGM is one of the most harmful prevailing practices known to the human race since the end of the era of human practices like human sacrifice, killing of twins and slavery. The harmful practice of FGM has endured generations, tolerated and in certain ways promoted due to multiple factors of preconceptions and pluralistic ignorance” he said.
Addressing participants the Communication Officer UNICEF, Enugu, Mrs. Ijeoma Onuoha, said that the objective of the programme was to create public awareness on female genital mutilation with the media being a driving force by spreading the message to the public.
She opined, “the programme is an avenue where all stakeholders come together especially those from the media to deliberate on issues affecting the awareness on FGM, provide solutions and assist both physically and mentally girl child.”Get more stories like this on Twitter & Faceboo