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FGM Abandonment: Osun NGO Meets Community, Religious Leaders

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A Non- Governmental Organisation in Osun State, Value Female Network (VFN) has met with traditional community leaders, and religious leaders and sensitised them on the dangers of the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and the need to abandon the illegal practice.

Members of the NGO stormed 44 communities across 11 local government areas of Osun and strongly canvassed against FGM by answering questions posed by the community leaders on the health consequences of the act and why they must discontinue from it.

In some of the sensitisation meetings monitored by our correspondent in Ifewara, Itagunmofi, and Osu communities in Atakunmosa West Local Government Area of the state, some elderly people, while reacting to remarks of the EndFGM champions, said they started FGM because they learnt it stops girls and women from being promiscuous.

But, an Islamic cleric who also attended the meeting said there have been ladies who were not mutilated and have been morally sound with sane virtues.

The cleric, simply identified as Alfa Ibrahim, said Islam does not support FGM and also joined in the advocacy against the practice. Corroborating Ibrahim’s argument, a pastor at Alausa community in Ife North Local Government Area said the Bible does not support FGM. He therefore admonished people to desist from the act.

At Odo-Osan, Olorunsogo, Oke-Aresa and Owode communities of Boripe Local Government Area of Osun, community and religious leaders declared their resolve to end the practice after the sensitisation meeting.

Among those who attended the community sensitisation and awareness against FGM are traditional rulers, youth leaders, market women, pastors, Imams and village chiefs.

Other local government areas visited are Ejigbo, Ilesa East, Ife North, Orolu, Ede South, Olorunda, Ayedire, Boluwaduro, and Ifedayo Local Government Area of the state.

These stakeholders were asked to discontinue from the illegal practice and also publicly declare abandonment by erecting signposts at strategic locations in their communities. They accepted to to this.

Speaking on the rationale behind the advocacy meetings against FGM, a member of the NGO, Miss Damilola Amoo who doubles as the coordinator of Girls Survival Project (GSP), said the sensitisation meetings with community leaders and stakeholders were to herald the GSP that is meant to train 1,000 survivors of FGM in the 44 communities visited.

Amoo said there was a need to make the community and religious leaders understand the implications of the practice before training their girls who have been exposed to this practice.

She said the sensitisation meetings and advocacy visits were held between November 10 and 19 of November, 2020.

“We (VFN) embarked on community entries/Advocacy visits to community leaders and religious leaders in Osun State on the Eradication of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

“These leaders ranging from traditional rulers, Baales, traditional Chiefs, community youth leaders, market women, leaders of associations, pastors, Imams and Alfas, members of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) welcomed our team into their villages and communities.

“We discussed extensively on the prevalence of FGM in their communities. We enlightened and sensitised them on FGM, its complications and the need to abandon the practice.

These community leaders and representatives, after asking questions on the dangers of FGM and getting convictions on the need to stop it, they resolved to join us in ending the practice in their domains.

“We urged them to publicly declare that their communities have/will abandon FGM by erecting a signpost declaring an END TO FGM. We are so happy to inform you that they ALL DECLARED their resolve to ABANDON FGM and DECLARE it publicly through the erection of signposts.

“These visits and sensitisation/advocacies against FGM in these about 45 communities across 11 local government areas in Osun are efforts at heralding our upcoming Girls’ Survival Project where we plan on training and empowering 1,000 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 in these affected communities. This project is sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

“These carefully selected girls are Survivors of FGM among other vulnerable girls,” Amoo explained.

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