Another Eleven communities in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi state on Tuesday made bold step to stop the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the area.
The people made the open declaration on the occasion of public declaration of FGM abandonment in the Ohaukwu Local Government Area organized by the office of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Ebonyi in conjunction with UNICEF.
Ohaukwu in Ebonyi North Zone and Afikpo North LGAs (Ebonyi North) ranked first and second in the practice of female genital cut in Ebonyi State.
Worried by the negative effects, the communities in the area resolved to stop the obnoxious and harmful practice inherited from their forefathers.
The communities in Izhia and Ngbo clans in Ohaukwu Local Government Area openly denounced the practice and vowed to end the phenomenon.
At the event, leaders of the different villages and communities warned that anyone in the area caught in the practice would be sanctioned in accordance with the law.
Chairman of Izhia Traditional Rulers Council, HRH Dr. Chibueze Onwe Agbo said Female Genital Mutilation has ceased to be a tradition in the area following the open declaration against the practice.
He said, “We have come to realize that the practice of FGM has enormous negative effect not just on the victims but to the society at large and has equally caused our women and girls a lot of hardships which includes; excessive bleeding which mostly leads to death, pain, shock and genital tissue swelling, infections, pain during sexual intercourse, decreased sexual satisfaction which could bring about divorce, husband getting married to other women, and extra marital affairs, vaginal discharge and itching.”
“We fully recognize and align ourselves with the Ebonyi state violence against persons probation law 2008, or any other law prohibiting the practice in Ebonyi state, and further undertake to apprehend and handover anybody within our community whom by an act or omission is involved in the practice of Female Genital Mutilation to the security agents or any other government body so that the law will take its own course”, he said.
The State Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Emma Abah Commended the Community for taking the step to end FGM practice in Ohaukwu.
He emphasized that female genital cut is a harmful and obnoxious practice that violates the basic rights of women and girls, Abah said the decision of the communities in Ohaukwu would go a long way in rewriting the name of the local government in gold.
Dr Abah said, “FGM poses increased risk of HIV transmission, infection, bleeding, pro-longed labour, still-birth and maternal death during childbirth.”
“It leaves lasting physical and emotional scars and an irreparable damage. Those who indulged in the practice in the past might have done that in ignorance but now we have known better, we have risen up to say no to FGM and put a stop to it.”
A Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, Victor Atuchukwu urged the communities to ensure that they follow their resolutions by arresting any member of the communities that may go contrary to their decisions to end the practice of female genital mutilation in the local government.