Osun State Government has called on female circumcision practitioners in the state to desist from the act.
Commissioner for Women, Children and Social Affairs, Olubukola Olaboopo, made the call yesterday in Osogbo, the state capital, on the side line of a public campaign to mark the international day of zero tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
She said though practitioners cited lack of means of livelihood as excuse for engaging in the practice to earn a living, it was not the best means of livelihood and the way to earn a good living.
The commissioner stressed that mutilating the girl child, thereby putting her in trauma and bad health condition, was not only an act of wickedness but selfishness on the part of the practitioners.
She assured of government’s readiness to empower the practitioners with a view to giving them reasonable means of livelihood.
Olaboopo disclosed government’s readiness to unveil some empowerment programmes with a view to persuading them to abandon FGM and called on them to take advantage of the empowerment initiatives.
She said the state had zero tolerance for the practice because of the social implications and physical trauma that the victims pass through as well as serious health dangers of FGM to the girl child.
The health dangers, she noted, included excessive bleeding which might lead to death, infection leading to hepatitis and maternal mortality during adulthood.
She added that the practice was archaic and an infringement on the health rights of the girl child.
The commissioner recalled that in 2014, Osun State ranked highest with 78.2 percent among the South West states, including Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti but has dropped in the ranking to 42 percent, following intensive campaigns and awareness programmes embarked upon by the ministry against the practice.
She added that campaigns on zero tolerance for FGM among people at the grassroots, churches, mosques, communities and schools had yielded positive results as several practitioners have abandoned the practice.
He called on practitioners who are still engaging in the practice secretly to desist “because government has put adequate machinery in place to monitor areas where such secret practices are going on.”
She added that whoever was caught in the practice would be made to face the wrath of the law.