The United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has decried the persistent increase in the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in some communities across the country.
The UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Enugu Field Office, Victor Atuchukwu, disclosed this at a one-day awareness meeting of Imo State Technical Committee on FGN held in Owerri.
He said that already UNICEF had intensified efforts against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), while calling on government at the federal, state and local government levels to strengthen measures towards the elimination of the practice.
The UNICEF chief charged members of STCs on FGM to be more proactive and passionate in the crusade against the obnoxious practice for the protection of the rights of the girl child and future of the children.
He charged the Imo State Government to evolve its own sustainable enduring programme to tackle the monster, since its funding of the programme would terminate by the end of the year.
He further disclosed that victims of FGM between the ages of 12 and 14 in the state were on the increase which required drastic measures to be tackled.
Speaking, the Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Imo State, represented by Dr. Anthony Eweputanna, stressed that regulatory sgencies were being engaged to stop the indulgence of some nurses and midwives in FGM, while patent medicine dealers were being trained on gender based violence.
Eweputam called for town hall meetings which should involve UNICEF, NMA, all the doctors, midwives and priests, to address the issue of medicalisation and the elimination of FGM.
According to her, village heads should be placed on surveillance to checkmate the ugly practice.
In his remarks, the Imo state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Vulnerable Groups, Lady Nkechinyere Ugwu, who declared the meeting open, said that the state government had enacted the “FGM”, Prohibition Law 2017 and is working assiduously to ensure that the VAWG Act is domesticated in the state.
She lamented that despite all these prevailing supportive legal and policy frameworks to FGM prevention management and response, many FGM survivors did not have access to essential social services due to the emphasis on the physical consequences of FGM and the neglect of the psychological impact.