Edo State Government through the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues has reiterated its commitment towards the fight against Female Genital Mutilation and other related crimes.

The Commissioner for Social Development and Gender Issues, Hon. Christabel Omoh Ekwu who was represented by the Director of Gender Department, Joy Ihensekien disclosed this during the commemoration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation in Egor Local Government Area, Edo State.

Describing the act, the commissioner said Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia clitoral glans or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, explaining that the practice has no positive health benefits for girls and women.

According to Hon. Ekwu, “Today is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, it is a day to join our voices with other voices around the world to sensitize communities on the need to eliminate such harmful practices.”

The commissioner further stated that Female Genital Mutilation is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, which reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against girls and women, explaining that the practice is often carried out by traditional practitioners on minors and is a violation of a person’s rights to health, security, freedom from torture and cruelty, and against inhuman or degrading treatment and to life, in instances when the procedure results in death.

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The commissioner further described the practice as one with no religious or cultural benefit, giving a firm warning to perpetuators of such acts to desist from the practice, as anyone apprehended would face the long arm of the Human Rights Law and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPP) 2021.

On her part, a resource person at the occasion and a consultant psychiatrist at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Dr. Mary Ehimigbai explained that Female Genital Mutilation causes severe bleeding and problems in urinating, which could later result in cysts, infections and complications in childbirth, with an increased risk of infant deaths.

The 2024 International Day of Zero Tolerance against Female Genital Mutilation with the theme, “Her Voice, Her Future” was centered on sensitization and presentations on other aspects of the Violence against Persons Prohibition Law.

Present at the event were the Egor Local Government Chairman, Hon. Eghe Ogbemudia, represented by the Secretary to the Council, Hon. Ekpen Odemwingie, the Vice Chairman, Egor Local Government Council, Hon. Franco Osawe, Supervisor for Education, Hon. Queen Idehen, traditional rulers, market women, youth leaders, among others.