By Justina Auta
The Federal Government and USAID on Tuesday, sensitised various communities in Kuje Area Council, FCT, to end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and seek male support towards achieving it.
The sensitisation exercise was organised by the Federal Ministries of Health and Women Affairs and the Momentum Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics (MSSFPO) Project, funded by the USAID and implemented by Engender Health
Mrs Judith Ononose, Director, Gender, Family Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health, said the sensitisation campaign was to educate the people on the severe consequences of FGM and to advocate partnership towards ending it.
Ononose, explained that the ministry has been working with women and girls on ending FGM, hence the need to include men to eradicate it in totality in other to meet the 2030 global target.
“FGM is more prevalent in rural area, although there are people who still practice in the urban.
“We chose Kuje to come and sensitise them and let them know that FGM has no health benefits.
“It is traditional , embedded in culture. We are trying to educate people that there is no health benefits, rather consequence as a lot of women suffer from mutilation especially in child bearing.
“We want to let our men know that even though they are not the ones affected immediately, but they will help fight the menace, as men as the custodian of culture.
“So, if we are able to win them and educate them that there is no health benefits, and stop mutilating girls and women,” she said.
Mr Olumide Adefioye, Social and Behavior Change Specialist, Engender Health, an NGO decried the prevalence of FGM practice, despite advocacy and awareness creation.
Adefioye said the 2023 theme,” Partnership with men and boys to transform social and gender Norms to end FGM, was apt, calling for the collaboration of all to eradicate the practice.
” We are here today to listen to what you as paramount leader of this town will have to say because despite efforts been put in place, the practice of cutting women and girls still continue.
“So, what can we do as men, elders of the land to put an end to the practice so that we will not be here next year with the same issue.
” We want to get from you and the elders, what we should do to end FGM in our town and Nigeria, which will enable our women and girls live a healthy and productive life,” he said.
The Gomo of Kuje, Alhaji Haruna Tanko-Jibrin, assured the government and other stakeholders of traditional leaders support towards ending FGM practice.
” I support the programme because most of these things are practiced in most communities, who see it as tradition and a right to do that.
” We are getting awareness and shall continue to put our eye on communities who are practicing this things.
” We have a way to make law to stop it.
I have a chain of authority through the traditional leaders when we meet I will still remind them that government is out to eradicate FGM, so if you are in practice in your community stop it so that we can progress,” he said.
Mrs Janet Samuel, a woman leader in the community decried the physical, mental, emotional and social effects of FGM practice on the survivors.
She lauded government and other stakeholders’ efforts in creating more awareness and existing laws to curb the practice.
” Within my community, I met some women that have been mutilated and we are all bitter about it.
“This awareness is very good and will teach women that FGM is not good for the women and children,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of the men and boys, Malam Yusuf Haruna, who is also the Barde of Kuje, reiterated the commitment of all the males in eliminating FGM practice.
“The thing has implications and the step the federal government has taken is a good move.
” Been a youths leader in this community, we will go round the household and tell those that have not been doing it or have intention of doing it to please stop it because it has implications.
” By taking these steps, it will reduce and stop the practice of FGM,” he said.
NAN reports that the organisers also sensitised religious leaders, markets, on the effects of FGM practice. (NAN)