Ebonyi Govt, UNICEF, UNFPA Intensifies War Against FGM

By Agnes Nworie

Following the high prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) cases in Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi state, the State Ministry of Women Affairs and social development has intensified war against the menace there.

The ministry in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) organized the one-day training for judiciary workers and law enforcement officers on Anti Female Genital Mutilation laws in Afikpo North local government area with the theme “Accelerating change”.

Speaking during the workshop, the UNICEF desk officer in the ministry, Mr. Emmanuel Nkwuda stated that the workshop is aimed at strengthening the child protection and response systems within the enforcement agencies and judiciary in Afikpo North Local Government Area.

According to him, the workshop shall also increase participants knowledge about Ebonyi state Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law 002 of 2018( VAPP law) and strategies for its enforcement, availability of other FGM related services, how to strengthen referral system, how to either prevent or respond to violence against children and women as well as precautionary measures against Covid-19.

He frowned at rumorus in some quarters that despite the war against FGM some medical personnel have taken over practice of the anomaly and threatened that any of them caught shall be punished severely which includes forfeiture of his/her practice license.

The Ebonyi State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Rebecca Ogbuewu commended the state government for domestication of the VAPP law and called for all hands to be on desk as the task of protecting rights of the children and women shall be properly done only through collective efforts.

The Commissioner represented during the workshop by a director in the ministry who is in charge of Child Development, Mr. Godwin Igwe called for more sensitization in different local dialects for easy understanding of those at the hinterlands where the menace is still prevalent.

On her part, one of the resource persons, Barr. Mrs. Ijeoma Ajanwachukwu regretted that despite domestication of the VAPP law, enforcement has not been  religiously done and recommended removal of the constitutional clause backing perpetuation of FGM on medical grounds, stressing that such clause gives room for continuation of that evil under cover.

More so, the state Director National Orientation Agency, Dr Emmanuel Abbah and UNICEF desk officer in the agency, Mr. Uchenna Unah urged all to always speak out in cases of such anomalies and do away with all harmful traditional practices while holding tenaciously the beneficial ones.

Some of the participants at the workshop, a prosecutor in the State Ministry of Justice, Barr. Mrs. Sarah Chukwu and a police inspector, Jacob Agbagha, thanked the sponsors for the opportunity which according to them, has increased their level of awareness and knowledge, and pledged to discharge their duties judiciously.

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