Experts in the health sector have lamented high rate of female genital mutilation in Osun state and called for urgent steps to end the practice.
The International Day for Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation was marked on Tuesday.
Osun state ministry of health and a non-governmental organisation, resolved to take severe measures in stemming the rising spate of cutting girls’ genitalia in most communities in the state.
Speaking on the programme tagged “Frank Talk” on a private radio station in Osogbo, Osun state capital, on the 2018 theme: Ending Female Gential Mutilalation/Cutting, the experts called on the people of the state to always report anyone caught carrying out FGM on girls to security agencies.
The state government and the Sexual Reproductive Health Oriented Organisation, Value Female Network (VFN), harped on the need to end female genital mutilation.
According to VFN, governments at all levels should take the bull by its horn in tackling the practice of cutting girls by collaborating with Non-Governmental Organisations who are into advocacies against the ‘deadly’ practice.
A founding member of VFN and Director of Gender Innovation in the organisation, Mr. Samuel Abimbade, said the debilitating effects the practice was causing on survivors and victims were much disclosing that eight out of ten girls in some parts of Osun are being mutilated.
Emphasising the need for governments at all levels to partner with NGOs like VFN to ensure an end to cutting of girls, Abimbade, an adolescent and sexual reproductive health expert asked the state government to work more on proper monitoring of traditional birth attendants and traditional circumciser to ensure that they do not carry out the practice secretly.
To achieve this, the Nigeria Youth ambassador advised the state government to collaborate with VFN and other concerned organisations to reach out to prevalent communities in the state, sensitise them and ensure that promoters of the harmful practice desist from it.
Calling on residents of Osun and other states of the Federation to end cutting girls, Abimbade argued that FGM does not prevent promiscuity as some quarters erroneously make people to believe.
He said researches had shown that most commercial sex workers were mutilated thus ruling out the speculation that the practise make girls not to be wayward.
He described as alarming the prevalence in Osun, saying some circumciser now advertise cutting of girls on social media and also seek patronage from interested people.
“It has now gotten to the stage where circumciser advertise the practice and ask people to mutilate three of their girls and get a discount on one.
Abimbade advised government to provide alternative source of livelihood for the traditional circumciser, arguing that majority of them see the practice as source of revenue despite the myths that surround the act.
Speaking, Mr. Dare Adeoye, an Adolescent and Reproductive Health expert, decried the traditional practice and warned circumciser of girls to desist from the act.
Adeoye said it is sad Nigeria ranks 2nd among countries of the world that have highest rate of maternal death, stressing that men are mostly behind the practice.
An official of the ministry of health, Mrs. Adelowokan, said the people of the state have not been helping the government in stemming the practice as some of them hesitate to report those who indulge in mutilation.
According to the Gender Health expert, Ede North has the highest prevalence with 88%, Ifelodun has 81%, Olaoluwa and Orolu have 76%, Oriade has 71 while Ife Central has 67% prevalence.