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Friday, July 24, 2015

Nigeria: Female Genital Mutilation - Practitioners Promise to Stop in Osun

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Osogbo — Traditional circumcision practitioners and medical practitioners in Osun State have resolved to work together with a view to curbing female genital mutilation across the state.

The agreement was reached in Osogbo, at a sensitization programme for traditional circumcisers, organised by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in collaboration with United Nations for Children and Education Fund (UNICEEF) and Action Health Incorporated (AHI).

Participants, who attended the sensitization workshop, were drawn from the three senatorial districts of the state.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the workshop and signed by Mr. Adiatu Salau and Dr. Lekan Awowola, the traditional circumcision practitioners agreed to abandon the practice of female circumcision in the state in view of the inherent health implications.

The two groups accepted the challenge that the traditional practice of female circumcision need to be jettisoned by the practitioners.

While speaking at the workshop, the State Coordinator of Inter-African Committee on Harmful Traditional Practices affecting the health of Women and Children, Mrs. Aduke Obelawo described female genital mutilation as violation of the right of a girl child and the main cause of maternal mortality.

She stressed the need for circumcisers in the state to stop the practice in totality because of the pains adding that it is harmful, dangerous and of no benefit either immediate or future to the life of a female child.

She emphasized that the stakeholders in the state must join forces together to put a speedy reduction if not total eradication of the practice, stressing that the state has the highest prevalence of about 75.6% of the practice in the country.

Speaking at the occasion, Mrs. Bashirat Adiatu of the State Ministry of Women and Children Affairs said that the practice is a criminal offence in the state adding that anyone that is caught engaged in the act would be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law.

The representative of United Nations Population Fund Mrs. Damilola Obinna also stressed that the prevention and elimination of female genital mutilation in the society is important because it undermines the health, security and physical integrity of the girls and women.

While highlighting the immediate effect of female circumcision, Dr Lekan Awolola noted that practice always leads to excessive bleeding, shock, fracture and dislocation among other life threatening problems.

Awolola is of the opinion that the total abandonment of the practice will reduce infections such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis 'B' infertility and maternal mortality.

[By Gbenga Faturoti,]

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