By OSENI YUSUF, Ibadan
The United Nations International Children and Education Fund(UNICEF) partners National Orientation Agency (NOA) in the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation(FGM) in Iseyin Local Government Area of Oke-Ogun, Oyo State.
The campaign against FGM held at Iseyin LGA premises on November 24 in acceleration of changing the age long practice.
Speaking at the event, Mrs Olutayo Aderonke, the consultant to UNICEF in South West states of Ekiti, Osun and Oyo. Aderonke Opined that, the public declaration of abandonment of FGM in 36 communities with the engagement of traditional rulers, religious representatives, youths, women groups and other opinion leaders for attitudinal change on FGM.
She further clarified that, the harmful practice of removal of external female genitalia poses increased risk of infection, pro-longed bleeding, still birth and maternal death during childbirth.
Declaring the prevalence rate of FGM, women aged 0-14years, and 15-49 years in Oyo state is 31.1% according to National Demographic Health Survey(NDHS) 2018 report- the fifth highest in Nigeria which is well above the national prevalence rate of 20.0%.
Meaning that, 4 out of every 10 women in Oyo state are affected living with the negative consequences of the practice which undermines their physical, emotional and social-economic well being. In a similar development, Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu, state director National Orientation Agency stated that the public declaration of FGM abandonment was a journey that commenced about 4years ago with series of programmes interventions designed to sensitize and orientate the entire community structures and critical stakeholders, against the harmful practice of Female Genital Mutilation.
Dosunmu commended UNICEF for it’s trust and confidence reposed in National Orientation Agency and the state Technical committee for diligently implementing the programes and achieving the envisaged goal of attitudinal and behavioural change by the entire people of the focal communities and Oyo state at large.
Representing the Chairman Iseyin Local government area, the secretary to the council Hon.Olayiwola Lateef appreciated the collaborative gesture of UNICEF and NOA for positively impacting lives by been an educators and eye openers to the dangers of FGM in the council and beyond with assurance that the pledges made by the community leaders will be followed by action to sustain the good work in their various communities.
Present at the event were Aseyin of Iseyin, Dr. Adekunle Salawu, represented by a chief at the palace, opinion leaders, women, youth leaders signed abandonment forms and certification given to them by the UNICEF to seek their committment,support and act to accelerate against FGM.
Also in attendance at the occasion included, health workers from the ministry of health, top government functionary and other communities dwellers.