In a bid to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation, a surveillance team has been set up in various communities across Ekiti State to checkmate the old practice for possible eradication.
Ekiti was rated second in the country with the highest number of FGM practices.
Following the recent indices, the Ekiti State Government imposed a stringent penalty against perpetrators of FGM and promulgated a law that stipulated a fine of N200.000 fine or one-year imprisonment for offenders of FGM.
In an attempt to complement and toe the line of government in tackling the menace, a Non-Governmental Organization under the aegis of New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative (NIGAWD) set up a Surveillance Team in the grassroots across Ekiti to monitor and sensitize people on the need to abandon the practice of Female Genital Mutilation(FGM).
NIGAWD had organized a one-day event to review activities of the team at Efon Alaye, Efon Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
At the event supported by the United Nations Population Fund, the Executive Director of NIGAWD, Mrs. Abimbola Aladejare-Salako explained that the event was organized to analyze the activities of the surveillance team in the community.
She said, “The Team was created last year and charged with the responsibility of monitoring activities on FGM in Efon. For instance, if they notice a pregnant woman in their environs, they monitor the woman till she gives birth, they would find out the gender of the baby, if it’s a girl, the surveillance team must educate, sensitize the parent and ensure the baby is not mutilated.
Aladejare explained that a booklet is given to the team to record their activities including notification about any household where they perceive FGM, to enable the government to take decisive actions on the perpetrators,
“FGM is dangerous to the girl child, last year we trained some people to move from one place to the other and educate people on the dangers of FGM but we discovered it was not enough, looking at the influence of customs and tradition, that’s why we come up with the idea of a Surveillance Team. The team is present in all communities across the state.
‘This event is organized to find out how far the team has gone in performing the roles assigned to them, how many people have they spoken to, we want to know the FGM practitioners who have retraced their steps and those who are adamant in the dangerous practice so they can face justice before the government.
“Ekiti was rated highest in the practice of FGM in the South West and second in the country, this is why the practice must be nipped in the bud, so by the time the Federal Ministry of Health comes around for assessment, we want the practice to have reduced drastically in Ekiti, it is hazardous, we don’t want to waste the life of anybody anymore
Aladejare, however, noted that the NIGAWD is not saddled with the responsibility of arresting FGM practitioners but “the NGO is to encourage them to stop the practice, and feedback from the surveillance team is crucial in doing this.
Participant at the event narrated their encounters and success stories.on the field.
Mr. Eleyinmi Johnson Adebola, Mrs. Adeniyi Bolaji, Comrade Oladapo Adebodun, Olaniran Ajibola, Kayode Oluwaseyi, and Chief Mrs. Funmilayo Ayegbusi explained that despite all efforts and sensitizations, some people still believe in the old practice, they, however, said that success stories in Efon community amount to 80% as “many practitioners have shunned FGM and are now focused on farming and reasonable activities for earning their living”
The NIGAWD Executive Director, Aladejare tasked the team on regular follow-ups to record more success stories and to give adequate feedback to the NGO.