The Executive Director of HACEY Health Initiative, Rhoda Robinson, and Oyo State Government have called on traditional circumcisers in the country to stop Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), saying the practice is dangerous to the health of women and girls now and in future.
Robinson made the call during an End FGM Alliance Joint advocacy visit to Circumcisers’ Association of Nigeria, aimed at putting an end to female genital mutilation, which held at Ajagba Community and Social Development Project Hall, Oyo Town, Oyo State.
The programme attracted leaders of circumciser associations across many states, including Ejigbo, Iwo, (Osun State), Ogbomoso, Oyo, Ibadan (Oyo) and Ilorin (Kwara), High Chief Abiola Ogundokun, Chief Lukman Ogunsina and Lateef Yusuf, among others.x
Robinson urged traditional circumcisers to realise that benefits of stopping FGM outweigh the pecuniary gains. She said: “The purpose of this event is to continue our campaigns against Female Genital Mutilation in all communities in the state. One of the areas we, as one of the most important stakeholders, is working with circumcisers who are custodians of the practice. We are working with them to end the practice. They are a very viable channel through which we can pass the message across.”
While responding to the issue raised by the circumcisers on the need to empower them, Robinson said: “I believe they have raised a valid point. But, I want them to know that the benefits of ending female genital mutilation far outweigh current challenges. I think we need to focus on ending female genital mutilation. Once there is a way out, we will find means to ensure that at the end of the day, nobody suffers and traditional circumcisers don’t have to return to the practice.
“We are all working for the same goal to ensure that women and girls live a healthy life.” Olawoyin Oluwakemi Bilikisu, Oyo State Reproductive Health Officer, said: “The dangers in the practice outweigh the benefits and financial gains in the business. We have tabled it before and they will do something to empower them. But, government will not do what is not sustainable. However, we must be concerned about the girl child’s future. We should look at the benefits of stopping it for our children…”
Ogundokun lauded Robinson’s efforts and requested the establishment of a loan scheme for circumcisers. Earlier, the Programme Manager of HACEY Health Initiative, Miss Tomilola Olunuga, said the essence of the programme was to educate the circumcisers on the need to stop the practice.