FIVE communities in Olorunda North Local Government Area of Osun State on Wednesday declared the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The communities are; Omumuyiwa, Ifesowapo, Dagbolu Ataoja, Sapo/Alubata, and Temidire.
Speaking with OSUN DEFENDER, the South-West Gender/FGM analyst for the United Nations Populations Fund, Mrs Uzoma Ayodeji, noted the reduction in the percentage of FGM cases in the state.
According to Ayodeji, there was a need for all stakeholders to collaborate to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The FGM analyst said: “Five years ago, the rate of FGM in the state was about 76 per cent but at the last survey, it has reduced to about less than 50 per cent and we are hopeful that the trend will continue till we reach zero per cent.
“Today is about the public declaration of the abandonment of FGM in Olorunda Local Government Area of Osun State. Five communities in the Local Government came together to publicly declare the abandonment of FGM in their communities.
“We want more collaborative effort among the stakeholders to ensure that we reach more communities in the state. The next step is to ensure that the communities that are yet to declare do likewise.
“We are targeting per cent in order to achieve the SDG goals by 2030 where no community in Osun State will still be engaging in this harmful practice.”
In her words, the Program Officer, Action Health Incorporated, Fatima Idris, urged the participants to keep to their promise of ending FGM.
She admonished them to be an advocate for eradicating FGM in the state through sensitisation of the people in their communities.
She said, “This is one of the interventions Action Health th Incorporated carried out in Nigeria. Over time, we’ve sensitised members of the communities where we enlightened them about the dangers of FGM and the need to end it.
“I want to advise the participants that since they have publicly declared that they are putting an end to FGM, they should keep to their words and not go back on it.
“They should also be an advocate of FGM by going back to their communities to enlighten others about what they learnt here. What we noticed is that FGM still exists because of ignorance.”
The State Commissioner for Health, Barr Jola Akintola, who was represented at the event by the Director of Public Health, Dr Akeem Bello, appreciated the organisers of the program, reiterating the government’s desire to see an end to FGM in the state.
Bello said: “Before the intervention of these programs in collaboration with the UNFPA, the rate of FGM in Osun State was over 70 per cent but within the five years when they started, it reduced to less than 50 per cent and I believe by the time another survey comes out, it would have reduced to less than 20 per cent.
“The government with the support of partners is reaching out to communities especially the rural areas, where FGM is still being practiced. We are telling them about the havoc of FGM and we can see we are winning the war against FGM in the state in collaboration with our people.”
Chief Oyebode Sule, Community Head (Baale) Dagbolu Ataoja, Osogbo, during his address said: “The program was interesting and my people have heard what those who came from Lagos have for us. I commend the organisers for coming to our community.
“My message to the people is that we should obey what they are telling us and follow the instructions of the government.”
Kazeem Badmus is a graduate of Mass Communication with years of experience. A professional in journalism and media writing, Kazeem prioritses accuracy and factual reportage of issues. He is also a dexterous finder of the truth with conscious delivery of unbiased and development oriented stories.