The Enugu State chief of field office, United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, Dr. Ibrahim Conteh, has commended the wife of Ebonyi State Governor, Mrs. Rachel Umahi for her commitment in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) leading to the reduction of the practice in the state by 20%.
Dr. Conteh made this disclosure at the International Conference Center, Abakaliki, venue of a policy dialogue in Commemoration of the International Day of Zero tolerance for FGM/C organise by the pet project of Mrs. Umahi, Family Succor and Upliftment Programme.
Dr. Conteh stated that according to a national survey conducted in 2011, Ebonyi state was rated 3rd in the country with 63% of girls being cut in the state adding that another national survey was also conducted in 2017, the percentage dropped to 43.2%.
He started that the reduction was achieved following the massive campaign embarked by the wife of the Governor against Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting stressing the need for more concerted effort to be put in place by the state government, the traditional rulers, the church and parent for the state to achieve zero tolerance for FGM/C.
He also commended Mrs. Imago for initiating and presenting before the state House of Assembly a law protecting the right of girl child and women pointing out that because of the importance of the law to the State and to safeguard the future of the girl child and women, it was passed into law.
Dr. Conteh urged the people to ensure constant enlightenment, sensitisation and education on the need for everyone in the state to abandon the practice adding that the practice is not just harmful but endangers the lives of every victim.
In his statement, the State Governor Chief David Umahi directed the state commissioner for health, Dr. Daniel Umazurike, to ensure that in all the health facilities both private and government across the state, the dangers of FGM/C is preached while the Commissioner for Education, Prof John Ekeh, was also directed to write to all school heads to also preach against the practice during their morning devotion.
Governor Umahi assured UNICEF of the readiness of the State to partner with them in achieving it’s programmes, stressing the need for the agency to help the state in its fight against the reduction of interaction level in the state especially among the youths and artisans.
The State Governor also promised a cash donation of N20 million to the pet project of the wife to enable her continue with her drive in ending FGM/C in the state.
Earlier, the Wife of the State Governor and initiator of Family Succor and Upliftment Programme, Mrs. Umahi described UNICEF as a reliable partner that has shown enough zeal and commitment to end FGM/C in the state pointing out that since assumption of office, many communities has declared total abandonment to the ugly practice.
She noted that the target goal is yet to be achieved as she would not relent until the state achieve zero tolerance for FGM/C.
In a lecture, the Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, Enugu field office, Mrs. Nkiru Maduechesi reminded the audience of this year’s theme which is Ending FGM is a political decision further pointed out that the end may not be achieved if political decisions and will are not made against the act.
While enumerating the dangers posed by the act to a girl child, Mrs. Meduechesi charged the judiciary, the police, the traditional institution, the church and other relevant agencies to stand up against the ugly practices stating that all hands must be on deck to achieve the aim of ending FGM/C.