Communities in Imo State set to end female genital mutilation

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By Muhaimin Olowoporoku

Not less than 32 communities in Imo State, Nigeria have agreed that they would put an end to the female genital mutilation (FGM) practice in their areas.

The communities agreed to end the practice after a community dialogue forum organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) alongside United Nations Children Trust Fund (UNICEF) and the Ehime Mbano council on Wednesday.

Community leaders, religious leaders, men and women alike, youths of Ehime Mbano and Owerri West council areas of the state were all present at the community dialogue.

Stakeholders of the communities who spoke in an interview with pressmen said they were ready to ensure that no member of their communities continues with the practice after the resolution.

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They explained further that the practice was engaged in owing to ignorance of health and social implications of such activity reiterating that with the exposure, FGM alongside other harmful cultural practices would be eradicated.

NOA coordinator in Imo State, Itus Ekeocha, and UNICEF consultant for Imo and Ebonyi State, Benjamin Mbakwe said that the forum was necessary to increase awareness on the ills and impacts of FGM practice on girl-child and the general health and well-being of women.

Both speakers explained that the forum was a platform for the community leaders to identify the best options for ending the practice of FGM in both council areas as well as develop a plan of action.

“FMG is practised in many Nigerian communities due to a myriad of socio-cultural beliefs. And in Imo State, there are nine councils areas where this practice is prevalent,” Ekeocha said.