By Udo Akam-Alo, ABAKALIKI
A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) otherwise known as Coalition of Eastern NGOs (CENGOS) Wednesday stated that Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, FGM/C, is a violation of human rights in its highest order.
The group also said massaging of the clitoris is another form of genital mutilation of which many people, including nursing mothers, play ignorance to.
Speaking during a training for Media Practitioners at ViennaHill Hotels, Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State Coordinator of CENGOS, Nancy Oko-Onya revealed that the most increased practice of FGM is in Ohaukwu Local Government followed by Afikpo North and called on all hands to be on deck to end the practice.
She said: “In Ebonyi, Ohaukwu takes the first position then Afikpo North comes second of the practice.
“We have already done a survey in the target communities. We are working on 3 LGAs and we have a control LGA.
“The benefitting LGAs are Afikpo North, Abakaliki and Ebonyi; the control LGA is Izzi.
“Whatever effort you can put in to make sure we achieve this, please do that; as an individual, as a group.”
Oko-Onya further stated that much attention has been given to the notorious Ohaukwu by other organizations and as such CENGOS would handle the earlier mentioned LGAs.
Dr Olaronke Afolabi of Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (AE-FETHA), while speaking on ‘Understanding Social Norms and Traditional Practices of FGM cum Health and Legal Implications of FGM’, posited that the rights of women are being violated and further noted that there is no health benefit in Female Genital Mutilation as such should not be practiced.
“FGM is a gross violation of human rights of girls and women. These rights include the right to non-discrimination, to protection from physical and mental violence, and to the highest attainable standard of health and the right to life.
“FGM has no health benefits and it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue and interferes with the natural functions of girls and women’s bodies,” she Said.
However, Dr Afolabi frowned at the rate of increased practices of this act whereby Nigeria is rated the 3rd highest worldwide and called on all citizens to join hands to make a better and positive change.
On his part, Barikumo Adou, noted that some of the ways to end this ugly menace in Ebonyi State and beyond range from deepening conversation through relatable inferences (evidence of based story telling), endorsements of the zero mutilation/ cutting campaign by notable personalities within and outside the community; Tracking of zero mutilation/cutting and holding stakeholders accountable, among other ways.
Meanwhile, CENGOS is in partnership with the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), with the mission and vision to ensure that human rights are guaranteed, calling on Media Practitioners to use their media platforms to campaign against the harmful practices.