Engineer Tamunominini Makinde, Wife of the Oyo State governor has called for increased sensitisation and involvement of males in bringing an end to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
She made the call on Thursday, at an event organised by the office of wife to the Oyo state governor to commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), in Ibadan, the state capital.
Makinde harped on the pivotal role of men in their roles as fathers, husbands, community and religious leaders to support the abandonment of FGM.
She noted that educating men is critical for men to take informed decisions, protect wives, daughters, sisters and prevent FGM in our communities.
She stressed that that advocacy by men and collaboration between men and women is an important step in the abandonment of FGM.
She also harped on the need for community organisations, religious leaders, traditional rulers, Civil Societies Organisations, grassroots bodies to work together to transform social and gender norms to end FGM.
Stressing that health, education are rights of women, Makinde called for intensification of efforts by all and sundry to bring about a decline in FGM.
Her words: “Today we are talking about protecting women and the girl child. Female genital mutilation had not help our women in any way but have caused more harm than good.
“I want everyone of us to shield our women and girl child, we must canvass on this to the people. We want the boys and the fathers to know that their job is to protect the women and the girl child. We are here to create awareness and educate people on the harmful effect of female genital mutilation.
“Female genital mutilation is a violation of fundamental human right that may cause a life long damage to the physical and mental health women and girls. Thus we need to intensify effort to end female genital mutilation.
“I believe joining hands with men and boys as suggested by this year theme will help eliminate female genital mutilation in our state before the year 2030 of targeted by the United Nations. Our fight against female genital mutilation practice in Oyo state had led to a noticeable decline.
“I will like to use this opportunity to call on our religious leaders, traditional leaders, health workers, law enforcement agencies, members of civil society in grassroot, association to join me to speak out and work together to transform social and gender norms to end female genital mutilation in our state.”
Meanwhile, the prevalence rate of Female Gential Mutilation in Oyo state has dropped from 66.3 percent to 33.1 percent.
The new statistics, according to the Executive Secretary, Oyo State Primary Health Care Board, Dr Muideen Olatunji is contained in a recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) conducted in the state.
The result, he said is an indication that the state’s efforts at sensitising the people of the state against FGM is yielding results.
Olatunji said “I will put it in our subconscious the need for men and boys to partner on our cause because of female interest. The social norms has affect the female gender and specifically to be able to reverse the practice of genital mutilation.
“In Oyo state we make a serious landmark the practice of female genital mutilation in this part of the world, initially was around the prevalence of about 66.3 percent now we have drop to 33.1percent as of the last year and if the survey is done again am sure it would gone down more than this much.
“It is because our first lady is so passionate about this that she has made it her personal project to ensure that we protect the interest of the female gender. If we want to protect the female, protect the male folks.
“This year theme is so crucial and it so important that we bring men folk into the subconsciousness of reversing the female genital mutilation practice in our midst.”
Reproductive Health Officer, in the Oyo State Primary Health Board, Mrs Balikis Olawoyin described FGM as a harmful practice that must be stopped owing to the mental and psychological torture suffered by FGM victims.
She said FGM victims were prone to infection, becoming barren while they also don’t enjoy sex with their spouses.
Another resource person, Mrs Ibironke Abeo emphasized that men should protect the girl child, while noting there existed the Oyo State Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law to protect the girl child.
An FGM victim, Mrs Mukaila Zainab, speaking at the event, lamented how her husband left her to fend for two children alone because he never enjoyed sex with her.
She said sex was always painful and a mirage when her fellow females say they enjoy sex.
She described FGM as harmful, adding that childbearing was always hellish for her such that she always gave birth via caesarian session and always bled for weeks after giving birth.