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Lagos warns health workers against FGM

By Franka Osakwe
05 November 2017   |   4:24 am
The Lagos State government has warned health workers and other citizens practising female genital mutilation (FGM) to desist from the act or face full wrath of the law.

Picture: L-R: Morayo Afolabi Brown; Chief Joseph Ogunmola, Baale of Marine beach; Mrs Lola Alonge, CHAI ED, Dr.(Mrs) Sariyu Ashiru; Pastor Laide Adenuga and Imam S.A Gafar, at the press briefing on ending FGM, in Lagos

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, has warned health worker and other citizens practicing female genital mutilation (FGM) to desist from the act or face the full wroth of the law.

The Commisioner stated this recently at the press briefing on ending FGM, by the Child Health Advocacy Initiatives (CHAI), in Lagos.

Dr. Idris, represented by Director Family Health and Nutrition, Dr. Folashade Oludara, said FGM is the most barbaric form of killing and harming women, leaving them psychological traumatised.
“FGM is a deeply rooted cultural believe that needs to be removed. It is not just enough to make the law, we need to call people together and create awareness on how to end FGM. In Lagos, we have 44% practise because Lagos is a multi national state with various ethnic groups. It heals with irriperable scare, that prevents the woman from enjoying sex, having babies, among other harms. Everyone need to come together to fight against the practise.

We are told that 28 per cent are being conducted by health workers, but am sure it’s not in Lagos because any health worker caught doing so will be prosecuted”, he added.

During her speech, the Commisioner for women affairs, Hon Dr. Lola Akande, said FGM is an abuse against the girl child and women hence the need to be abolished.
The Commisioner, represented by Dr. Mrs. Sola Falana, said Lagos is ready to collaborate with CHAI in the eradication of the practise.

“We believe this is an abuse, and we have a number you can dial to report cases of abuse in Lagos: *6820#, or text abuse to 6820.

The state government has always being in the forefront against such practices and we are ready to collaborate with CHAI in the eradication. But this is a collective effort, we need to carry out sensitization especially to our men. Today many women are not enjoying their marriage because of this FGM, it has led to so much death,”, she noted.

In her opening remark, The Executive Director, CHAI, Mrs. Lola Alonge, explained that FGM violates all human rights principles, including the principle of equality, non descrimination of sex and the right to health. “FGM has no known health benefits and it causes lifelong physical and psychological harm. It affects the family, community, relationships and economic development. Trained health workers who perform FGM are violating girls and women’s right to life and health”, Alonge said.

Mrs. Alonge, also called for the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP). “On May 2015, President Good luck Jonathan signed the VAPP into law. This law bams FGM and other traditional harmful practices. But the VAPP only applies at the Federal Capital Territory. It osnpw up to each state to domesticate the law. Previously, eleven states has enacted laws against FGM. However, there is an inconsistency between passing and enforcing the law”, she said.

Explaining more about the practise, Dr Sariyu Ashiru, President, Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN), stressed that the practise has no medical benefit but is still lingering becaise of culture.
“These procedures are being performed by quacks which is why the victim end up with complications”, she said.

Meanwhile The Baale of marine beach, Chief Joseph Omobolanle ogunmola, said his community have started campaigning against the practise through the pastors and the Baales:
“The practise is endangering the life of our young girls. We want them to live. It should be our collective responsibilities to sensitize our families to stop FGM so that our females can live long and in health”.

Adding his voice, a muslim leader, Imam shakiru Gafer Al mufassir, said Allah frowns at harmful practices such as FGM.

“Allah loves women so much, that he dedicated a whole verse in the koran to them. He frowns at anything that will upset the well being of women, such things should be avoided. Without women there is no family. FGM leads to breakage in marriage because it affects the sexual relationship of the couple. This is why we have so many children of single parents, these children end up becoming miscreants in the society”, he noted.

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