Ebonyi state Government has arrested and prosecuted seven persons who are involved in Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Abakaliki.
Governor David Umahi who was visibly angry over a report by national daily that one Nnedia Obeji, victim of FGM was rescued from severe bleeding last week, ordered that the perpetrators be brought to him, Blueprint reports.
Addressing journalist on Tuesday at the government House Abakaliki, the Chief Press Secretary to Ebonyi state Governor’s wife, Mr Donatus Owoh and Special Adviser to Umahi’s wife, Mrs Ama Nkama Stephanie said that both the mutilators and parents of the girls mutilated would be severely punished.
They regretted that despite various aspects of the law against such practices, people still go on and carry out such inhuman act.
In a joint presentation, both Aides said, “the governor read a piece on a national daily about FGM case in Abakaliki and became very angry, both his wife and every other person around were worried and asked that the parties involved be brought to book. She further said that they will be persecuted according to the law.
“We have monitoring committees, community monitoring committees, local government and state, anybody they arrest, will be sent to the central police and we now have lawyers to take him/her up.
‘Two women have been arrested, the women and the parents of the mutilated victims will be charged to court. One important thing that we want to hold against the Child protection Network , we had organized seminar for the NGOs. In that seminar, we said if you find any case, you should report to us but instead of reporting to us, they went straight to press.
“If they had reported to us, we would have taken them to court before now.
The law against mutilation in the state, stipulates 200,000,00 or 5 yrs imprisonment or the two against any culprit.
Meanwhile, a representative of Child Protection Network (CPN), Mrs Margaret Nwoye while explaining the role the NGO had played, said that the organization got involved through the traditional ruler of the community, Ezeogo Ukpai who alerted them.
According to her, “Child Protection Network is a network of NGO’s, Women Affairs, Ministry of information, FIDA, working together to protect children from violence, especially women.
“In the case of the mutilation in Okpoitumo, we were called by the Ezeogo, we trained the committee he set up after the declaration of zero tolerant on FGM and we followed up by giving additional training of more committees in the 26 communities on how to scout those performing FGM after which they reported to us.
The age brackets of the girls mutilated acording to Nwonye were within the age range of six, eight and 12 yrs old, given the number of mutilated girls to be 10 . She said that another girl who would have made them 11 has a grot inside of her.
Nwonye who revealed that the people committing the crime have no excuse, reiterated that the message against FGM has been spread in schools,villages, churches but you know, this is a norm. It’s never wrong to those who practice it and in the heart of those who made the norms. It has been their custom for ages and to stop it, is not very easy but gradually it will be stopped.