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UNICEF Wins War Against Female Genital Mutilation as Communities Resolve to abandon the practice.

From Ikechukwu  Duru  Owerri

The United Nations International Childrens Fund ( UNICEF) seem to have had it’s way in the campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM) as  Communities in Imo state have resolved to abandon the practice.

The communities took the decision  realising the health implications associated with the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Representatives at a one day sensitization meeting championed by UNICEF and the National Orientation Agency (NOA,) called on the National Assembly to enact a law against the practice

During the  sensitization meeting With the United  Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and  National Orientation Agency (NOA), in two local government areas,  of  Imo  State, hitte-Uboma and Ideato North local government area respectively, the participants resolved to abandon the practice

They further  resolved to carry on the campaign against the practice they believed had done more harm to the unfortunate victims.

According  to the participants some of the female  children  die or get disfigured in the process of circumcision

The UNICEF chief of field office Enugu, Mr Ibrahim Conteh represented by  UNICEF consultant in Imo and Ebonyi States, Mr Benjamine Mbakwem, explained the danger associated with female genital mutilation

He asked of the decision of the participants on the practice haven being enlightened enough on the implications of the practice

According to him series of meetings had been held in the past been held with religious leaders, traditional rulers, youth leaders and other key stake holders in the communities over the practice

He gave reasons why communities in the state should stop the practice which he described as bad and dangerous pointing out that it does not only humiliation on the girl child but also can cause death of the child

According to him, ” these category of stake holders from the communities that is the present generals, women and youth leaders, religious leaders, traditional rulers are critical persons in the affairs concerning communities hence are considered very critical in taking decision on the practice”

He urged them to denounce the practice and spread the campaign against the practice of female genital mutilation

>Also addressing the meeting, the state Director of the National Orientation Agency ( NOA)  Dr Vitus Ekeocha said ” the meeting on this bad practice is very important to they communities pointing out that discussions had been held earlier with all major stakeholders in various communities

He said ” all segments of the society, including legal officers would also be reached to get a consensus on the public declaration on why the practice of female genital mutilation should stop

The Director further made it known that at the end of the sensitization program, any body, group or individual person caught in the practice of female genital mutilation , will be arrested and prosecuted according to the law that would be made against the practice

Dr Ekocha explained that to ensure that this campaign against FGM went down to the communities, meetings were earlier held with critical stakeholders in various communities in the state

However, during the meeting, contributions from the participants showed that all the communities in the state have resolved to do away with the practice

This was reflected in the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting in which the communities resolved to intensify awareness creation using all existing community groups to mobilize stakeholders towards public declaration of female genital mutilation abandonment

The communiqué also said that communities surveillance team would be put in place to monitor compliance of the decision to abandon the practice by the communities
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