A non-governmental organization, HACEY Health Initiative, has appointed community leaders in Ekiti, Oyo and Osun as focal persons in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation exacerbation in the states.
HACEY Health Initiative is a non-governmental organization aimed at improving the health of women and girls and advocating against all forms of gender-based violence by partnering with private and public organizations.
The Executive Director of the organisation, Mrs Rhoda Robinson, said in a view to achieving the said aim, “a 2-day training programme was organized for the selected focal persons with the aimed of increasing partnerships in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).”
The event, which took place in Ekiti, Oyo and Osun were respectively held at Data Bank, Ekiti Ministry of Health, Ado-Ekiti; Ibadan Business School, Bodija, Ibadan, and Palm Crest Hotel, Osun State.
At the event, She said: “The training was focused on ending Female Genital Mutilation by increasing case reporting to the appropriate security operatives and ensuring that the COVID-19 pandemic does not facilitate an increase in FGM practice in these communities, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more women and girls have experienced a form.”
Similarly, She reiterated the commitment of the organisation to end the incidence of Female Genital Mutilation cases in these communities and promote reporting of new cases in the communities, noting that those in attendance at the training were representatives of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, women leaders, youth leaders, religious leaders, traditional leaders and Ministry of women affairs in each state represented.
According to Robinson: “The newly appointed persons are to work with security operatives in each state to end the harmful act by increasing reporting of FGM cases and counselling of FGM survivors in Oyo, Ekiti and Osun State. This was done in a 2-day training from April 29-30, 2021 organized by HACEY Health Initiative on the StopCut Project aimed at increasing partnerships in the fight against FGM.”
She explained that the focal persons selected consisted of community leaders from each local government area of the States, saying they will be responsible for identifying and reporting cases of Female Genital Mutilation in their localities.
“The selected focal persons are community leaders in each of the selected local governments and will be responsible for identifying and reporting cases of Female Genital Mutilation in their localities. The selected local governments are Ibadan South West, Ono-Ara, Atiba, Ogbomosho North in Oyo state; Orolu, Ejigbo, Ife North, Iwo in Osun State and Ikere, Idi-Osi, Irepodun/Ifelodun and Ekiti South West in Ekiti State,” She added.
She described Female Genital Mutilation as a total or partial removal of the features of the female genitals is a form of gender-based violence experienced by women for no medical or religious reasons, adding that such practice t usually leaves its survivors with medical or social complications and sometimes results in death.
It is estimated that one in ten cases of Female Genital Mutilation occurs in Nigeria and Ekiti, Osun, Oyo and Ebonyi hold the highest prevalence of this harmful practice in Nigeria.
While explained that the appointed focal persons are expected to work in close communication with the Nigerian Police Force, other security operatives in each community to identify and report cases of Female Genital Mutilation in their communities, She added that this is expected to restrain the perpetrators from performing the act of FGM in selected communities.
“The focal persons will work to ensure that no girl experiences female genital mutilation during and after the covid-19 pandemic by reporting all cases of FGM or intended activities to the appropriate security operatives,” Robinson stated.
Speaking, on behalf of the focal persons, Chief Mrs. Adejoke Haastrup, appreciated the organization and the government for the unending work they do in ending female genital mutilation.
She equally reiterated her commitment to ending FGM, promising to engage her community and security agents in the fight against FGM.
Similarly, a representative from the ministry of women affairs in Ekiti State Mrs Aluko, appreciated the efforts of the state government and HACEY health Initiative for the training and emphasised the importance of collaboration with the security agencies to end FGM in Ekiti State.
She further urged the newly appointed focal persons to creatively execute their roles and ensure no one is left behind in their communities.
Also, the Oyo State Focal person on FGM, Mrs Olawoyin, reiterated the harms caused by FGM and encouraged the health promotion officers to be courageous in executing their roles judiciously.
According to her, this is an opportunity to save more girls from the pain and complications of FGM.
A staff of the Osun State ministry of women affairs, Mrs Aderike, conveyed the willingness of the ministry to work with the focal persons by conducting regular check-ins with them on the progress made in each selected community.
A representative of the Nigeria Police force, ISP Ayodele, appreciated HACEY Health Initiative for the training on ending female genital Mutilation.
He further stated that the police officers would ensure they support the project by ensuring all erring persons are charged to court and in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, he affirms his faith in the potential of the initiative to put an end to female genital mutilation in Nigeria.