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Osun Considers Rewarding Residents Who Expose FGM As NGO Seeks Collaborative Efforts To End Practice

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Osun State Government is looking into rewarding exposers of those who carry out Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, otherwise known as female circumcision across the state, the state commissioner for health, Dr Rafiu Isamotu has said.

Isamotu disclosed this while speaking on an Osun state stakeholders’ virtual meeting on the ‘Stop Cut Project Female Genital Mutilation,’ organised by a Non Governmental Organisation, HACEY Health Initiative in partnership with the state ministry of health.

Being the state with the highest prevalence of the harmful practice in the Southwest, the NGO gathered stakeholders including the state government, representatives from the ministries of Health, Women Affairs and Justice; Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Legal unit if the State House of Assembly, NGOs, media and the State ministries of health and Women Affairs with a view to having a robust discussion that would lead to abandonment of FGM.

Others who attended the meeting held on July 21st, 2020 included the representatives from International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA); Nigeria Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ); National Human Right Commission (NHRC); Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC); National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and Civil Society Organizations.

Fielding question at the meeting, the Commissioner for Health said the state government would consider offering some financial incentives to residents who expose those who practise FGM.

He said the whistleblowing policy would be a great tool of ensuring that the state sees to the abandonment of the harmful practice.

Isamotu also urged residents to voluntarily give out information on those that either cut their female children or the local/medical cutters adding that FGM has negative and deadly effects on victims.

Also speaking, Mrs Toyin Adelowokan, the FGM coordinator in the state Ministry of Health, said despite public declarations made by some local cutters recently, FGM is still being practised in the state.

She said no one has been caught since her team and NGOs in the state have started campaigns against the practise. Adelowokan it was unfortunate that some medical doctors and other health workers have joined in the business of cutting girls in the state.

Even when the state government had threatened to withdraw the certificates of practise of erring health workers, she said some are still adamant.

For the legal unit of the State House of Assembly, Barr Kayode Titiloye, there is a need for a review of the law against FGM in the state. Titiloye said there should be a law compelling health workers to report any female that has been mutilated or cut to either security agency or the ministry of health in the state.

According to him, not until offenders of FGM are prosecuted and punished, people would still continue with the practice.

During the meeting, all participants stated their commitment statement to ending FGM in Osun State as the executive director of HACEY Health Initiative, Rhoda Robinson said the project is to see to the abandonment of FGM/C in Osun state through the collaborative efforts of stakeholders.

According to Robinson, the Stop Cut Project is funded by the United Nation Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund). It is a three-year project being executed in Ekiti, Osun and Oyo States to develop local capacities aimed at ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM/C).

“The project will build the capacity of critical stakeholders such as Civil Society Organizations, media, religious and traditions leaders, government ministries and agencies as well as survivors on advocacy and engagement with policy makers to domesticate and enforce policies and laws on FGM/C at the state and local levels. I

“It will also increase the knowledge of members of the community on these policies and laws and promote positive behavioural change towards the abandonment of FGM/C practices within the communities in the states,” she added.

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