Ado-Ekiti -Wives of the governors of South West states converged on Ekiti on Friday to discuss strategies on how to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the region and the country at large.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was tagged “High-Level Meeting On Female Genital Mutilation”, attended by Mrs Florence Ajimobi, wife of the governor of Oyo State and Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola, wife of the governor of Osun State.
Mrs Ayo Fayose, the wife of the Ekiti Governor, said at the opening of the meeting that the South West had the second highest prevalence rate of the
practice, adding that “we are too decent as a people to accept this stigma without a strategy to checkmate the trend and pull ourselves out of this inglorious grouping.
She said “we are also deepening our regular interface with various bodies and organisations on the effects of the harmful practice.”
She assured the meeting that the state had the political will to prosecute violators of the laws in this regard and charged stakeholders in the region to
harness resources and seek out ways to reduce the high prevalence of the practice.
In an address, Mrs Ajimobi, while decrying the high incidence of cutting of female genitals, noted that statistics on the practice had not been kind to Nigeria,
more so in the South West region.
She stressed that the need to bring the practice to zero level necessitated the high-level meeting and charged stakeholders to bring all that would be necessary to end the practice, which she described as a crime.
She warned that those still perpetrating the act might end up in jail as “because there is no known benefit of Female Genital Mutilation and cutting.”
On her part, Mrs Aregbesola said there may be need to upgrade the legal and judicial systems in states to make it difficult for any practitioner of FGM to get
away with the crime.
She suggested that the states should consider inculcating the issue of FGM in school curriculum, noting that this would enable children to be properly sensitised and be aware of the scope of dangers the FGM constitute and the need to eradicate it completely.
In a goodwill message, Gov. Ayò Fayose of Ekiti declared that the state would go after those practicing FGM and described the act as evil and ungodly, saying the state was willing and ready to put a legislation in place to combat the menace.
Representative of the UNFPA, Dr Omolaso Omosehin, said the support of everyone in the effort to end FGM was critical to influence proactive and promote social change for FGM abandonment.
He then urged political office holders, their wives, legislators, traditional and religious leaders and other advocates of social change to mobilise coordinated and sustained action against the dangerous and deeply harmful practice. (NAN