By Oginni Joy Kehinde
The Edo State Government through its Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues, has reiterated its commitment in the crusade to end female genital mutilation and other related harmful practices in the State.
The pledge was made in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State by the Commissioner for Social Development and Gender Issues, Hon. Christabel Omoh Ekwu, represented by the Director of Gender Department, Mrs. Joy Ihensekien, during the year 2024 commemoration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) with the theme, “Her Voice Her Future”.
Decrying the act, the Commissioner said FGM comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia clitoral glands, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, explaining that the practice has no positive health benefits for girls or women.
According to Hon. Ekwu, “Today is the international day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, it is a day to join our voices to other voices in the world to sensitize communities on the need to eliminate such a harmful practice.’’
The Commissioner stated that the practice of FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, saying it reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against girls and women. She added that it is nearly always carried out by traditional practitioners on minors and that it is a violation of the rights of children.
The Commissioner further stressed that the practice of FGM has no benefit of any kind both in religion and cultural perspective, admonishing those who are involved in such inhumane practices to stop forthwith as it is violates the Human Rights Law and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPP) 2021. “The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity; the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; and the right to life, in instances when the procedure results in death”, Hon. Ekwu concluded.
The Consultant Psychiatrist from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Dr. Mary Ehimigbai, explained that FGM causes severe bleeding and problems in urinating, which could later result in cysts, infections, or complications in childbirth, which increases risk of infant deaths.
There were sensitization and presentation of other acts, which constitute violation of VAPP. Present at the event were the Egor Local Government Chairman, Hon. Eghe Ogbemudia with the Council’s Executives, Traditional Rulers, Market Women, Youth leaders, among others.