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NHRC calls for prosecution of FGM offenders

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Mrs Oti Ovrawah, a Director with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has called for prosecution of those engaging in Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to serve as deterrent.

Ovrawah made the call on Thursday in Ibadan during a training workshop for stakeholders on human rights framework for reporting FGM.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the training was organised by NHRC in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The director said that FGM was now recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and those who engage in the practice must be prosecuted and jailed.

She said that though the laws prohibiting FGM were in place its non-implementation allowed those practising it to go scot-free.

“The traditional birth attendant, parents and those who carry out FGM must be prosecuted.

“The cultural, traditional and religious beliefs for engaging in FGM are not real and must be abolished.

“The UNICEF survey of February 2019 shows that Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Kwara and Ebony States have 80 per cent prevalence of FGM which is the highest in Nigeria,”Ovrawah said.

She said that NHRC was going round states to sensitise the public on the human rights of women on FGM to check the practice.

Ovrawah stressed that there was the need for continuous enlightenment, especially in rural communities where the practice was rampant.

“We need comprehensive awareness by traditional rulers, various organisations and agencies on effect of FGM so as to eliminate the practice,”she said.

Earlier, Mr Tony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary of NHRC, said FGM was totally unacceptable and had to be stopped in all its dimensions.

Ojukwu, represented by Mrs Ngozi Okore, Assistant Director, NHRC, said Nigeria was a party to several international and regional human rights instruments that seek to eliminate FGM using a range of legislative, executive, administrative and judicial measures.

The executive secretary said that in spite of being party to these treaties as well as relevant national and state laws, Nigeria was yet to make appreciable progress in some states to reduce FGM menace to the barest minimum.

He said that NHRC being a promoter and protector of human rights in Nigeria was ready to provide both leadership and direction to tackle the menace.

Ojukwu added that the leadership and direction would ensure that all relevant stakeholders acquire the necessary capacity to assist Nigeria fulfil its national and international human rights obligations.

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