A review of the law prohibiting female genital mutilation in Ekiti State has provided punitive measures for medical doctors and nurses who engage in the illicit practice.

Such practioners will lose their operational licenses and be sentenced to two years in jail.

Local and unorthodox practitioners of the harmful practice would also face two years in prison with an option of N200,000 fine if found guilty.  

The law, tagged Ekiti State Gender Based Violence (GBV) Provision Law was first enacted in 2019 as a drastic measure to deal with ancient practice.

In spite of the law and enlightenment campaigns, the state government is still grappling with defiance from adherents of the tradition.

Olukemi Akinleye, the Coordinator of Ekiti State programme on the Eradication of FGM, said on Saturday that the state government is now going hard on those involved.

She spoke at a workshop organised by Hacey Health Initiative, held in Iyin – Ekiti, Irepodun/ Ifelodun Local Government Area of Ekiti State. 

Mrs Akinleye, appealed to Ekiti residents to collaborate with the government for increased awareness to stamp out FGM that had brought shame to the state.

“The Anti-FGM Law had been in existence since 2002, but was in 2019 integrated into the GBV Prohibition Law,” she said.

“The government is now more severe about the implementation and those still practising the harmful custom will be punished .

“In the law, any medical staff found culpable of cutting female genitalia,  is to forfeit  his license and go to two years imprisonment with an option of N200,000 fine .

“Why should any Doctor or Nurse lose his license because of FGM that can’t fetch him more than N3,000? The law is in place and now being forcefully implemented to punish those disobeying government’s order that FGM must stop in Ekiti.”

Ekiti is topping the chart in the South West, with with an index of 57.9% going by the recent statistics.

leading the pack among the Southwestern states in spite of its level of education  with 57.9% indices  going by recent statistics released by World Health Organisation.

“Ekiti State is a honourable state,land of honour and can’t be found to be leading in FGM and  having the highest teenage pregnancy indices  in the Southwest” said Mr.Akinleye.

“This is largely  due to lack of sex education and this is what we are trying to correct.

“A lot of homes had been disorganised as a result long term infections from FGM causing  barrenness, marital crisis and  increased  domestic violence. Our people must stop this at all cost.”

She described as unfounded and baseless, the myths being peddled around that female gender, whose genitals were not cut would be  promiscuous and suffer stillbirths, saying the reverse was the case. 

A representative of Hacey Health  Initiative, Bamidele Oyewumi said  the organisation is determined to partner the state government in sensitising the locals on the evils inherent in FGM to safeguard the life of the citizens. 

In 2013, Ekiti had a prevalence rate of 72% percent, but dropped to 57.9% in 2019. The new figure however has not improved it’s standing as it has already overtaken Osun State which hitherto occupied the number one spot.

According to UNICEF, five states in Nigeria namely, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Osun and Oyo are leading in female genital mutilation.

UNICEF, in a report, said nearly three million girls and women would have undergone female genital mutilation in the last five states.

UNICEF said the prevalence of FGM is highest in the South East with 35% followed by South West with 30% and lowest in the North East with 6%.

The Fund submits that Female genital mutilation remains widespread in Nigeria with an estimated 19.9 million survivors.

Nigeria accounts for the third highest number of women and girls who have undergone female genital mutilation.

While the national prevalence of female genital mutilation among women in Nigeria aged 15– 49 dropped from 25%t in 2013 to 20% in 2018, prevalence among girls increased from 16.9% to 19.2% within the same period.

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