Stakeholders in the campaign against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), has described the old custom as a violation of basic human rights of women and girls.
The stakeholders made the remarks at a one-day capacity-building workshop on FGM for newsmen in Osogbo on Tuesday.
They said that most times, FGM was usually done against the person’s wish and it caused almost irreversible damages to the victims.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organised by a Non-Governmental Organisation – Hacey Health Initiative – with the support of the Spotlight Initiative.
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Mrs Toyin Adelowokan, the Osun Coordinator of Campaign Against FGM, said the old practice had no health benefits and also violated series of well-established human rights principles.
Adelowokan said that in most of the communities where they practised FGM, it was generally believed to be essential to raise a girl and made her eligible for marriage.
According to her, the health implication of FGM on a girl-child includes, excess bleeding, infection, decrease sexual satisfaction, pains during sexual intercourse, among others.
Adelowokan called for criminalisation of FGM practice, saying that the old custom was damaging the future of the girl-child, hence must stop.
Speaking on the laws against FGM, Mr Kayode Titiloye from the State’s Ministry of Justice said that FGM was against the dignity of women and girls in society.
According to Titiloye, both the penal code in the North and the criminal code in the South criminalised grievous bodily harm to any person.
He said that Section 335 of the Criminal Code of Osun provides, “that any person who unlawfully does grievous harm to another is guilty of felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years”.
Titiloye, however, said that since the period the law was made, no single case of FGM had been brought for prosecution in the state.
“The implication is that the law is good and waiting to punish the offenders but it lacks the capacity to expose or smoke out the offenders.
“There is, therefore, an urgent need for the law to be amended to provide for measures to compel reporting or to sanction cover-up, especially beyond the community cycle,” Titiloye said.
In his presentation, a Media Expert, Mr Femi Olanipekun, said that media practitioners should see themselves as advocates against FGM.
Olanipekun said there was an urgent need for the media to increase and sustain news coverage and campaign against FGM in society.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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