Anybody, regardless of his or her status who is caught engaging in the practice of Female Genital Mutilation in the State of Osun will face the full wrath of the law.
This was contained in the message of the Director of Public Health in the State Ministry of Health, Dr. Gbenga Adepoju during a Stakeholders Forum put in place for the dissemination of research findings on FGM in the State of Osun, held at the Conference Hall of the Ministry.
Adducing the reason for the forum on “Stop the Cut Project; Partnering to End FGM”, Dr. Adepoju said the gathering was called to ensure that FGM is totally eradicated in the state and to also sensitize people of the state against such practice.
He revealed that the State Ministry of Health has taken bold steps by collaborating with the organization responsible for putting an end to the menace in our society, adding that the powers that be are not also left out in the campaign.
The health expert further disclosed that the MoH is also in partnership with other government ministries such as the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Educational among others, noting that NGOs and security outfits are not left out at ensuring that everybody knows about FGM and do not run fowl of the law.
He was swift to commend the State Government of Osun for responding positively by putting the laws backing the activities of the project in place.
He advised the people of the state to do away with the practice, affirming that there are no known advantages of it globally.
Also speaking, the Programme Officer in charge of Stop the Cut Project who is also a representative of the organization implementing the project in the state (HACEY Health Initiative), Oluwatomi Olunuga explained that the research findings was based on the prevalence level of knowledge and level of awareness of FGM among the people of the state.
She made it known that its prevalence among those from 18 years and above is very high while a considerable reduction has been recorded among those from 18 years and below. She added that the trend among those from 40 years and above is high while the statistics for the people between 18 and 29 years is about 66.0 percent.
She maintained that the knowledge about the practice is quite poor, saying that it was realized that there was a huge gap between awareness and knowledge of FGM in the state.
As regards the law prohibiting the practice, she noted that not everyone was aware of the law coupled with the fact that not everybody is willing to report cases of FGM.
Confirming that FGM Still thrives in the culture of silence, Oluwatomi encouraged everybody in the society to always endeavour to speak out so that the State Government of Osun will be able to take necessary action as regards ending FGM in the state.
She stressed that with more contributions and collaborative efforts of all stakeholders in the state, the SDG goal of ending FGM globally by the year 2030 will be achieved.
Commenting on the programme, Pastor Ayodeji Timothy one of the participants said it is a wonderful initiative saying that everyone should understand that FGM or cutting should be banned totally from our communities. He added that it is very wrong for any community or individual to get involved in circumcising a female child.
In her own remarks Mrs Alamu Jadesola stated that FGM is the destruction of the female genital structure of which whoever is mutilated has been deprived of her rights.
She therefore called on parents and other perpetrators of the act to stop acting out of ignorance and unhealthy religious beliefs.
On his own part, Barrister Abayomi Ogundele from the National Human Rights Commission averred that the national and state laws regarding FGM should be put into practice by ensuring that those who commit the offence and those aiding them are tried in the law court.
The Stop the Cut Project is implemented by HACEY Health Initiative in the state of Osun.