United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Monday called for the enforcement of laws protecting rights of women and girls in Ebonyi state.
UNICEF made the call during a one day training and establishment of surveillance systems at community levels to monitor and report compliance to declarations to abandon FGM, and also make referrals to service providers in communities of Ohaukwu and Afikpo North local governments of Ebonyi state.
The Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Enugu Field Office, Mr. Victor Atuchukwu , noted that there is a need to enforce actions on the laws enacted by Ebonyi state, such as the “Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law (VAPP), Ebonyi State Child Rights Law” and others to ensure its effectiveness.
Mr Chukwu explained that National Orientation Agency Ebonyi state, in collaboration with Ebonyi state Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Health and CSO partners, with support from UNICEF to worked tirelessly with traditional, religious and community leaders in all the 11 communities of Afikpo North and Ohaukwu LGAs of the state towards understanding the harmful nature of the practice of female genital mutilation .
He said that the efforts yielded very positive results as the UNJP EndFGM program secured the will and commitment of the communities to end the practice, which ultimately led to the community members and leaders coming out en masse in December 2019 to publicly declare their resolve to abandon female genital mutilation.
“Today, we have great policies and laws that further protects the rights and privileges of children, women and girls in Ebonyi State – Ebonyi State Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law (VAPP), Ebonyi State Child Rights Law etc. Sadly, according to Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (2018) report, Ebonyi State ranks 3rd as the state with the highest prevalence of FGM (53.2%) in Nigeria. This is a call to action for us to quickly, and as a matter of urgency, get to work, enforce the protection laws, reverse this ugly trend and protect women and girls from the ugly practice”.
On his part, the State Director, National Orientation Agency, NOA Ebonyi state, Dr. Emmanuel Abah charged the people to make their contributions towards the total elimination of all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAwG) including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in their various communities amidst COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Abah said women are in the best position to monitor and track FGM abandonment and other forms of VAWG because they are present in every compound and belonged to different strong Community Women Associations (CWA) from the community level down to village and kindred level.