Stakeholders have urged relevant authorities including the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to ensure that circumcision and genital mutilation of the female child comes to an end in Ebonyi and in Nigeria.
The experts spoke while participating in a one-day workshop on anti-female genital mutilation laws in Afikpo North local government area with the theme “Accelerating Change.”
The workshop was organised by the Ebonyi State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development with support from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA).
Participants at the workshop include members of Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Civil Defense Corps and judiciary workers.
According to Ebonyi State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Rebecca Ogbuewu who lauded the state government for domesticating the VAPP law called on the participants to collectively join her ministry in waging war against the dreaded practice.
She also tasked the participants to ensure that the rights of the children and women in the council area especially in this era of COVID-19 are protected.
The commissioner represented by the director, child development in the ministry, Mr. Godwin Igwe also charged the participants to embark on more sensitisation using local languages for easy understanding of the effect of the practice against women in the hinterlands.
On his part, the UNICEF desk officer in the ministry, Mr Emmanuel Nkwuda, said the workshop was geared at increasing the participant’s knowledge on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and efforts to end the practices in Ebonyi state.
He then warned medical practitioners to desist from practising the act while stressing that any health personnel caught practising the act shall be punished severely according to the law as the workshop will strengthen the child protection and response systems.
However, the resource person, Barr. Mrs Ijeoma Ajanwachukwu regretted that enforcement has not been done as expected despite the domestication of the VAPP law. He advocated for a reviewal of the constitutional clause backing perpetuation of FGM on medical grounds.
According to her, such a clause gave room for the continuation of the act undercover.
Also, the state Director National Orientation Agency, Dr Emmanuel Abbah and UNICEF desk officer in the agency, Mr Uchenna Unah urged the participants to always speak out in cases of such anomalies and do away with all harmful traditional practices while holding tenaciously the beneficial ones.
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