From Zara Nwachinaemere, Abakaliki
12 communities in Ezza North Local Government Area, Ebonyi state, have renounced the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), saying it is anachronistic, poses health risk.
The community leaders from Ekwetkwe, Ogboji, Umuezekoha, Umuogra, Osiegbe, Amuda, Nkomoro, Umuezeoka, Oriuzor Amaewula among others, said rhey have decided to abandon the practice.
The event which took place in Ebiaji, headquarters of the local government, was witnessed by officials of the United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) and the National Orientation (NOA).
In his speech, Chairman of Ezza North Traditional Rulers Council, HRH Igboke Ewa, stated that though the communities had stopped the practice of FGM, there was need to publicly denounce the phenomenon.
He warned that any member of the communities caught in the act would be sanctioned.
“Ezza people have for long stopped this practice , but now that the government has come into it, it is better so that if anyone still engages in this practice let him/her stop it. There is jail term waiting for anyone who engages in this practice. If we found anyone who will engage in this practice we will take such to government.
“So it is a very message they are bringing to us and as FGM practice has been stopped before, to day we are putting a final full stop to it”, he said.
In his address, Chief UINCEF, Enugu Field Office, Dr. Ibrahim Conteh, said the decision of the communities has contributed to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5:3 “eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilations”.
“UNICEF is in solidarity with the good people of Ezza North local government on this feat, and we kindly urge that this momentum be maintained, resolutions sustainably implemented, functional community surveillance team put in place to monitor and ensure compliance, and collaboration with state government and law enforcement and duty bearers will be trained to further support the efforts of the community stakeholders to end this practice in Ezza North LGA”, Conteh stated.