The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) have reviewed and validated their action plans towards ending the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the 13 local government areas of Ebonyi state.
The international organizations noted that their efforts in the state have had positive effect as the number of women that are being subjected to FGM has reduced.
This was disclosed during a one day state level meeting to validate action plans for FGM elimination in the 13 LGAs in Ebonyi state held in Abakaliki.
Representing Dr Ibrahim Conte, the UNICEF consultant on elimination of FGM for Imo and Ebonyi states, Benjamin Mbakwe, said the agency was supporting the state to develop an action plan that will enable the communities manage issues of FGM on their own.
He said, “This is a second level of engagement for something that we started early part of this month.
“UNICEF is supporting Ebonyi state government to develop a two years action plan, something that will serve as a road map for the communities within each LGA to manage the issue of FGM on there own and ensure that women and children do not suffer the consequences, that their entire family do not suffer the economic consequences of FGM and cutting.
“We also asked the ministries and agencies to join this meeting because besides developing the local government plan, we also want the state to contribute because there are things that need to be done at the state level for this Human Right challenge to be addressed.
“And at the end of the day we develop a communique so that we all see that what we have agreed here is what is going to happen going forward.
“I have a map of Nigeria with colors, there are two types of surveys that were conducted to understand the severity of the practice of FGM in every community.
“All over the world government tries to find out the indices of development, there is a survey they called Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, when it was done in 2016, one of the areas they looked at was the practice of Female genital mutilation and cutting. When that survey was done, Ebonyi state was 43 percent while the national average was 18 percent. Shortly after the joint program started, in the next programme that was carried out by “Nigeria Demographic Survey”, when it was done in 2018 Ebonyi state prevalence was 53 percent, the national average was 20 percent.
“But let us not forget that in 2013 when it was done Ebonyi was 73 percent, number 2 in the entire country. But the good thing is that the prevalence is reducing, it means that the work we are doing is working. Fewer women are now being subjected in Ebonyi state but the practice has not stopped, based on the reports we are getting from the hospitals.
“There are 30 countries around the world that have the problem of FGM and Nigeria is one of them, since 2013 UNICEF and UNFPA came together and have being supporting five states, Ebonyi, Ekity, Imo, Osun and Oyo to see if this problem of FGM can be eliminated” he noted.
In a communique issued by the participants at the end of the program, they called on the state government to enforce the already existing law and asked that by-laws be enacted at the local government levels to help traditional rulers enforce the VAPP law 2018 of Ebonyi state.
The communique reads in part, “Ebonyi state government should enforce the already existing law (Violence Against Persons Prohibited law 2018).
“By-laws should be enacted at the LGA levels authorizing Traditional rulers to enforce the VAPP law 2018 on offenders of FGM.
“There should be establishment of ‘End FGM Agency’ in the state to coordinate all activities relating to receive reports arising from thereof.”