Persons still practising female genital mutilation, FGM(girl-child circumcision) have been warned to desist from it or risk 14 years imprisonment and/or N250,000 fine.
This was revealed yesterday during an advocacy dialogue with traditional rulers, organised by the Imo State office of the National Orientation Agency, NOA, with the support from United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, Enugu Field Office at Ikeduru Local Government Area of the state.
As part of the sensitisation process, the royal fathers were showed the legal and health implications of FGM
. Vanguard captured part of the anti-FGM law as presented to the traditional rulers:
“By the Imo State FGM (prohibition) Law, 2017, if you perform FGM, submit oneself for FGM, the penalty is 14 years imprisonment or N250,000 fine or both;"
“Aid and abet performance of FGM, seven years imprisonment or N150,000 fine or both; to assault a person for refusing to undergo FGM attracts three years imprisonment or N100,000 or both.”
Meanwhile, according to the State Director of NOA, Vitus Ekeocha,
“Ebonyi, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Imo are the local communities UNICEF is working and the prevalent rate of female circumcision in these five states is higher than any other state in the federation.
“From information and what the women confessed, there is a need to abandon this FGM practice. When we were doing community dialogue, we started hearing experiences.
“However, because of cultural stigmatisation, everybody decided to keep quiet about the female circumcision. But when you engage them one-on-one, especially when they are not with their male folks, you will hear a lot and realise that they have really suffered.
“In those days, because of our culture and tradition, women do not speak out no matter how painful it may be. But now, a woman can tell her husband no, you can’t touch me. In those days, her fellow women will ask her if she is a woman.”