By Ruth Oginyi
The Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), Nigeria with support from the United Nations Population Fund under the joint donor project on the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has taken Community Dialogue on the FGM Abandonment to communities in Imo state, southeast Nigeria.
CIRDDOC previously engaged Ebonyi communities on the dialogue to abandon FGM practice.
Addressing the communities in the Ohaji/Egbema council area of the state, CIRDDOC noted that mutilation of the female genital is a gross violation of the rights of women and girls and advised the people to end the phenomenon.
Our correspondent reports that twelve communities participated in the dialogue which was organized in three batches held from May 11 through 13, 2021 amidst tight Covid 19 protocol and they made meaningful contributions to end the menace and assured to step down the message to town hall meetings and churches in their area.
The communities are Etikwuru, Oforola, Mgbara, Obokofia, Ekugba, Mmahu, Umuorji, Abacheke, Abaezi, Umudeike, Opuoma, Obiakpu.
In her remarks the Executive Secretary of CIRDDOC, Ms. Onyinye Okaah told the participants that the dialogue was aimed at providing a platform where people of different ages come together, have conveys the negative effect of FGM, and proffer solutions on how to eradicate the heinous act.
Ms. Okaah added that FGM is a gross violation of the rights of women and girls. She stated that the community that is part of a process that will hopefully lead to a public declaration by the selected communities.
Earlier, the State Representative of the Imo State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Stella Ukaegbu commended CIRDDOC and UNFPA for the intervention and affirmed that this is the opportunity they have been waiting for and a dream come true.
Mrs. Ukaegbu pointed out that the ministry is glad to have UNFPA and CIRDDOC in Imo state and would collaborate with CIRDDOC to achieve the purpose f the project. She thereafter urged the participants to pay attention and utilize the rare opportunity.
In her goodwill message, Mrs. Gilian Ngozi Adinnu representing the Imo State Ministry of Gender Affairs and Vulnerable Children expressed gratitude to CIRDDOC and UNFPA for working in the state. She added that there are many cases of Gender-Based Violence and, 90% of the cases are connected to FGM.
Mrs. Adinnu maintained that FGM has no health benefit and enjoined participants to abandon the practice.
Mr. George Amakihe of the Ministry of Budget. Economic Planning and Statistics urged participants to desist from the practice of FGM. He observed that the prevalence rate of Type four FGM is very and women are the perpetrators of the act. He advised participants to stay away from the practice as culprits will be sanctioned according to the provisions of the law. Mr. Amakihe said the ministry will join hands with CIRDDOC to ensure that FGM is eliminated in Ohaji/Egbema.
With the support from UNFPA, CIRDDOC expressed optimism that in the next one year Imo communities will see every reason to stop FGM and other forms of violence against women and girls in the area.