By Abiola Rufai
ILARO-YEWA: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been described as harmful tradition and cultural practice that must be eradicated across Ogun State.
The State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hon. Olufunmilayo Efuwape who stated this while delivering keynote address on the occasion commemorating this year International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation held at Yewa South Local Government Secretariat, Ilaro, pointed out that girls who undergo female genital mutilation faces short-term complications, severe pains and excessive bleeding, as well as infections among others.
According to her, “Today is a special day to raise a campaign against this harmful traditional and cultural practice, and also to increase awareness and mobilization against it. I am proud to be among so many champions in the cause of eliminating female genital mutilation.
“This is a procedure that intentionally alters or causes injury to the genital organs of girls and women, and it has been recognized internationally as violation of the human right which has been declared as illegal by United Nations. It is a global issue that must be eradicated across Ogun State and the world at large.
“It should be noted that girls who undergo female genital mutilation face short-term complications, severe pains, shock, excessive bleeding, infections as well as long term consequences for their sexual and reproductive health and mental health.
“Globally, there are more than 750 million women who are living with the consequences of child marriage and over 200 million women from more than 30 countries who are living with the consequences of female genital mutilation.
“These are not just women’s issue. When you force a young girl to get married at such early age, you are giving someone the right to rape her every single day. Often times when we talk about child marriage, we don’t think about it that way”.
Hon. Efuwape stated that practice of female genital mutilation was prevalent in the uncivilized part of the state, adding that people who engaged in the practice according to a research do so in respect to their culture and tradition of their community.
The Commissioner said that the elimination of the practice requires coordinated and systematic effort of all and sundry especially the people in rural communities, stating that more focus should be on human right, gender equality, sexual education and attention to the needs of women and girls who suffer from its consequences.
On his own, the Transition Chairman of Yewa South Local Government, Alhaji Ramon Fagbenro called for the support of citizens of the local government especially the traditional rulers and religious leaders in the campaign against female genital mutilation.
Alhaji Fagbenro advised parents who engaged in the practice to desist from it, as such harmful practice could jeopardize the life of their female children.
Delivering lecture at the event, the Guest Lecturer, Mrs. Funmi Olatunji, pointed out that there was no single benefit in the practice while advising that the stakeholders should help spread the needs to end the erroneous violence against women because all women have the right to enjoy their sexual life, adding that the United Nation is working assiduously towards ending the practice globally by the year 2030.
In their different goodwill messages, the Special Adviser to the State Governor on Women Affairs, Hon. Adijat Adeleye Oladapo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr. Ranti Oladeinde, the Head of Local Government Administration of Yewa South Local Government, Ms. Iyabo Ayorinde as well as the wife of the council’s Transition Chairman, Alhaja Aishat Fagbenro urged people that were present at the event to spread the message especially among the people living in the rural areas and support the state government’s campaign on the need to put an end to the harmful practice.