Unicef efforts in fgm abandonment 90% successful in Ebonyi – stakeholders

Nkechinyere Oginyi

Communities in Afikpo North local government area of Ebonyi state say the activities of Unicef in combating female genital mutilation have led to the abandonment of the practice by people of the area.

The stakeholders who spoke to our correspondent during the Unicef field mission on zero tolerance to female genital mutilation in Afikpo at the weekend said that the rapid campaign against fgm has made the people voluntarily reject the practice.

The traditional ruler of the Ohaisu autonomous community, Ezeogo Ewa Elechi said that the fund invested by Unicef a few years ago has yielded positive results as the people are now aware of the harmful effects of the obnoxious practice and are not ready to go back to such harmful practice.

“Many years ago a huge amount of money was invested to sensitize our people on #end Fgm. At Amuro Mgbom primary school, we brought out the big pot which they use to practice and smashed it in the public which shows the abandonment.

“People are getting used to the dangers and are using their hands to reject them. We have declared the abandonment and the people abide by it. Nobody is practicing Fgm in Ehugbo land”. He said

A youth leader in Afikpo, Mr.
Uchenna Madukibe said to ensure complete abandonment of fgm practice an age grade ” ISIELIA’s” has been mandated to monitor and report any attempt by anyone to mutilate a newborn girl child in their locality.

Mr. Uchenna said that to achieve positive compliance both males and females are part of the enforcement team.

“I appreciate the efforts of Unicef by creating awareness towards ending Fgm to an extent that I must tell you that Unicef has achieved a lot in bringing zero tolerance to Fgm.

“Before now you will have a situation where a little child is born in most cases rather than taking her to the hospital because the woman delivered at home, you will see older women carrying a sharp object to cut the girl her genital part which leads to bleeding and in some cases to death to a reasonable extent that aspect of it has been ended. I can tell you that 85% of the end FGM practice has been achieved.

“In the community by law, the people adhere to it strictly because in Afikpo we have traditional governance which we and the unicef team went and meet in their sitting place called Essa traditional council and the law was passed and disseminated into villages, their community leaders have the law to ensure that they end/abandon FGM which is yielding fruit because we no more have where newborn babies are taking to an aged woman for mutilation.

“Note that through the Ehugbo traditional council, the village heads, Town Crier, and women groups have copies of the law. our people are aware of the law and its consequences if you are cut mutilating your girl child you will be penalized accordingly.

He further said that the people have copies of the VAAP law in the different communities.

“To achieve 100% on the FGM abandonment, there is this age group called ISIELIA’s. They are the enforcement agency in Afikpo and they have been mandated by the Ehugbo traditional council to monitor their villages because the age group is in all the villages and we the youths including female youths are part of the enforcement team, anybody caught will be reported to the ISIELIA’s who will now forward the report to Essa traditional council for proper sanctioning. And the enforcement team are actively working am part of them as a youth leader”.

Contributing, a woman leader Lolo Felicia Egwu said women in the area are now end FGM champions.

She rated the compliance to the abandonment high and commended unicef for their role to end the outdated practice.

“On FGM abandonment, I will rate role of Unicef 90% because the rate of compliance is high and it is because of their sensitization, campaign on the dangers of FGM in Ehugbo”.

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