By OSENI YUSUF, Ibadan
The National Orientation Agency (NOA), Oyo State and United Nations International Children Emergency Fund(UNICEF) have sensitised residents of Ibarapa, Iseyin, Ogbomoso and Oyo West communities of Oyo State on the need for the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation that has endangered the lives of girl child.
Speaking at the second sensitization compaign held in Oyo west LGA on Nov. 30th, Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu, the State Director, National Orientation Agency said, the campaign for the abandonment of Female Genital mutilation is a continuos advocacy to educate residents of the state at large on the danger girl child go through by cutting off their genitial which has adversely effected them as a child, mother and wives that has robbed them of lasting happiness.
The NOA State Director, buttressed that, they are in Oyo west LGA for the grand finale of the last round of the public declaration of communities that proposed and determined to abandoned FGM and for records, we have been to Iseyin, Ogbomoso south, Ibarapa North and Oyo west LGAs for people of the communities to publicly declared that they have chosen to do away with the old practice of FGM in the respective communities.
The journey so far has been for some years, from the start off knowing that anything that has to do with a well rooted tradition has to take a process before people would decide to drop such tradition for a particular reason.
“The sensitization commenced from the platform of community dialogue by exchanging views in trying to find out why is the tradition of FGM in place and what has been there gain sofar? We find out that it’s just a form of believe inherited from their forefathers which they hope to continue irrespective of the threat posed to there women and girl child.
“From the inception, we set to educate the various communities we visited that the practice of genitial cutting does not have any benefit especially to girls and mother’s. In addition, consensus building was also heared with the community leaders and stakeholders by empowering them with enlightenment into knowing what Female Genitial Mutilation is all about.”
She further opined that, male engagement was also held in each community whom(male) by tradition has the authority to determined what happened in the family with promises from women’s group, community and traditional leaders and all concerns to abandoned the unholy practice.
Dosunmu enlightened the communities that, the government has put in place, child right law to protect the sanctity of children.
In a similar development, Mrs Olutayo Aderonke, a consultant to UNICEF covering Oyo, Ekiti and Osun states of South Western Nigeria.
speaking to newsmen clarified that, one of the major result is for the people to come out to made public declaration on the abandonment of FGM.
Arriving at this stage, we have done alot of community works, sensitization, engagement of traditional leaders, women groups, youth Association and stakeholders. Having had a grand finale at Oyo west LGA which won’t be the last of our activities.
By next year, we would start training on Community Based Child Protection Network that would serve as a survellance network system in the community like the watch dog to ensure that, what the communities are processing today is complied with.
Training would also be given to Community Champions to monitor and know how many number of girls were given birth to and ensure that they are not mutilated.
Education on FGM would also be extended to prosecutors, police officers to be able to enforce law already on ground to this effect.
“We have a programe called community to community, having done this, these communities would engage other communities that has not declared public abandonment of Female Genitial Mutilation(FGM) and enlightened others on how they achieve this and also how important they can also abandoned such act”.
This is the second time we are coming to Oyo west, however, these communities have done public declaration in 2018 which informed a need to come around to educate other communities in the LGA after been informed by the Bale’s and the communities leaders.
She further appealed to all concerned authority to see a need to put an end to FGM after making a public declaration on the abandonment with a certification by UNICEF to appreciate there cooperative gesture.
On his part, the Ona Isokun of Oyo land, high chief Isiaka Tells Titilola appreciate the kind gesture of UNICEF and NOA Oyo state for deeming it timely to educate his communities and it’s environs on the danger of FGM and to women and girl child with a pledge that the communities will continue to sustain on the abandonment put in place
In his remarks, the Chairman, Oyo west LGA Hon Salam Akeem Olukiti further assured that the communities will never fail or disappoint in there effort to put an end the inhumane age long practice that destroyed the lives of women and girl child.
Present at the Grand finale were, representative from the state ministry of Women affairs and social inclusion ably represented by, Mr Olalekan Olawale, Deputy Director Poverty Alleviation(DDPA), health practitioners, birth attendants, religious leaders, students and the community at large.