Nigeria is one of the countries of the world with rich cultures and traditions but the fact remains that most of these cultures are harmful and no longer in vogue.
One of these cultural practices is Female Genital Mutilation which is prevalent in the southwestern part of the country in which Ekiti is not an exception.
However, traditional and religious leaders, market women, artisans and other relevant stakeholders on Monday made an open declaration to abandon the practice.
The decision of the stakeholders followed a One-Day State Level Engagement jointly sponsored by the United Nations Children Fund(UNICEF) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in partnership with the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers and other critical stakeholders.
The traditional rulers having been well educated and informed about the practice, threw their weight behind the fight against the outlawed cultural practice
The monarchs also pledged to support the state government in the areas of enlightenment and enforcement of the law against the menace in their domains
No fewer than 16 foremost traditional rulers ,otherwise known as the Pelupelu graced the occasion. Amongst them were the Ajero of Ijero,Arinjsle of Ise,Atta of Ayede and Olomuo of Omuo-Ekiti.
In his remarks, the Onisan of Isan Ekiti and Chairman, Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Gabriel Adejuwon decried the prevalence of FGM in Ekiti calling for concerted effort to end the scourge.
Oba Adejuwon warned that Henceforth the palace shall not plead for anyone caught practicing FGM in Ekiti adding that the Council shall also set up monitoring team to ensure compliance.
A Southwest UNICEF FGM Consultant , Mrs Oluronke Adetayo, in her presentation, urged the stakeholders to do everything possible to stop violence against children, especially the girl child.
Adetayo added that Ekiti has the highest prevalent rate in the Southwest, having overtaken Osun that was leading in 2013, with Imo State rated highest in Nigeria.
She described the practice as a manifestation of gender inequality, abuse of human rights and a violation to women and girls, which she said could create instability in the system, if not stopped.
Also, the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, appealed to stakeholders to sensitize the people at the local level about the evils inherent in the harmful practice, saying some were still indulging in the pernicious act due to ignorance.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mr. Akinjide Akinleye, commended UNICEF for its Initiative , saying the stakeholders in Ekiti are greatly worried and bothered by the fact that the state is leading in this harmful practice in the Southwest.
The Chief Imam of Ekiti and Southern Nigeria, Alhaji Jamiu Kewulere, represented by Alhaji Utzas Kolawole, said the campaign against FGM is highly beneficial and was targeted to make life better for all populace.
Kewulere said the Holy Quoran and Islam was against FGM , saying all Muslim faithful must propagate this in all the mosques while also telling the people about the dire consequences of such practice, to dissuade the practitioners.
The Iyaloja of Ado Ekiti, Mrs Waye Oso, said the wife of the governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, has given empowerment to FGM practitioners across the state after they surrendered their tools, saying there wasn’t any need for anyone to indulge in it despite the government’s efforts .