Security agencies in Ekiti state have threatened to arrest and prosecute violators of the State Child’s Rights Act and female Genital Mutilation Prohibition Law 2002.
The Centre for Women’s Health and Information (CEWHIN) in collaboration with the New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative (NIGAWD) signed the pact with the police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) after a 2-day training workshop held in Ado Ekiti State on Tuesday .
Ekiti State has been ranked second in the country in the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) coming behind Odun in the practice.
The workshop, funded by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), trained security officers drawn from the 16 local government areas of the state on the adverse effects of the practice.
The Executive Director of CEWHIN, Mrs Adebanke Akinrinmisi, in her remarks, expressed regret on the upsurge of female genital mutilation in the Southwest geo-political zone in spite of laws prohibiting it.
She said the training was aimed to sensitive and entering into a pact with the security agencies on the need to gather "veracious information on perpetrators to stop the practice" which she lamented had damaged the lives of over 200 million population globally.
She added, “The security agencies are very key in the fight against this devilish practice. Though, I quite appreciate the fact that the practice was an extension of the gender inequality in our society, but it has to stop.
“Many lives have been damaged through it. Some have suffered hemorrhage and died, some were infected with lifetime diseases, some suffered prolonged labour and all that.
“We are imploring them to use different networks they use to gather information in all the council areas to arrest and prosecute the cutters. The practice is high in the rural areas of Ekiti, and that was why we drew the police and NSCDC from the rural areas”, she said.
In her remarks, the Chief Executive Director of NIGAWD , Miss Abimbola Aladejare , said removal of female genitalia confirmed that every female child in the Southwest were being treated like slaves in their homes.
Aladejare lamented the non-implementation of the law, saying about 20 million girls were carrying the pains of genital mutilation in Nigeria alone, representing 16 per cent of the population.
“We are failing in our fight against FGM because we are not involving the security agencies, who have the power to arrest and prosecute offenders, this we are trying to correct”.
She added : “The deep entrenchment of gender inequality in Africa responsible for high rate of rape, because our men are always hurt when women resisted sexual advances from them because of their perceived superior nature.
“Gender based fight is not a rivalry between male and female but ways to ensure that society moves smoothly , way to tell our parents that all their children must be treated equally without discrimination. "