By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
Contrary to beliefs that female genital mutilation (FGM) prevents girls and women from being promiscuous, experts have said the practice has no known benefit.
The experts stated this in their various presentations during a one day capacity building workshop for journalists, held at Koltol Plaza and Suite, in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, at the weekend.
At the workshop, themed, ‘Stop Cut Project/Stakeholders Capacity Building,’ the experts said cutting of the girl-child and women is more harmful and with no health benefit.
In her presentation, Oyo State Coordinator for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Mrs. Balikis Olawoyin, said the practice exposes girls and women to more health issues with an irreversible implications.
She said it is high time Nigerians stop the practice and help prevent future health complications that could arise for the girl-child and women
Olawoyin while presenting a paper, titled ‘Presentation on Understanding FGM,’ pointed out that the society thought that FGM is a way to protect women against being promiscuous, but that it has been discovered not to be true.
She called for media support in the enlightenment of traditional rulers, community leaders, religious leaders and the people at the grassroots in a bid to put an end to the practice.
“Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is extremely harmful to the body of girls and women. It is now time Nigerians desist from such practice because the negative effect of FGM is irreversible.
“Female genital mutilation has no known benefit. It has immediate and age-long term consequences. It is an extremely harmful practice. The damage caused is irreversible. The society thought that FGM is a way to protect women against being promiscuous, but we discovered that it does not.
“We do not know when it started. It does not discourage women from being promiscuous. It has no benefit. So, the media should help us spread the message to the people at the grassroots. We appeal to the religious leaders, traditional rulers, men and women to stop this act,” she said.
Olawoyin revealed thar Oyo State is one of the states with the highest prevalence rate of FGM in Nigeria, adding that the training for the journalists from the print, online, electronic media and those from various ministries became necessary in order to sensitise members of the public on the negative effects of FGM.
Presenting a paper, titled, ‘Presentation on Laws and Policy,” Barrister Tolulope Adeoti described FGM as a violation of the right of females, urging all stakeholders to rise and stop the practice.
She enumerated the various sections of the law that seek to sanction perpetrators of the act, adding that claim of ignornace would not be accepted in the law court should anyone be caught in the act.
Representative of HACEY Health Initiative, Emmanuel Oni, in his welcome address, said: “FGM is a crime in the state and anyone caught engaging in FGM would be prosecuted in line with the recent laws passed in the state.”
“With these laws, the government has given us the go ahead to officially prosecute any perpetrator of FGM. The passage of these laws has given us the support to work with security agencies to ensure that we bring this practice to an end,” he added.