By Victor Nwachukwu
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Njaba Local Government Area chapter in Imo, has pledged to work to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the area.
The pledge is in a communique read by the CAN Secretary, Rev. Chigozie Nwaka, during an advocacy dialogue on FGM, organised by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Njaba on Thursday.
Nwaka, who described FGM as a sin against God, added that “while the Holy Bible approves the circumcision of the male child, it does not support that of females.”
He said it would be wrong for those who practice FGM to use the Bible as a form of defence.
The secretary said “as a way of expressing our support to the call for an end to FGM, we hereby declare that the act is unchristian and not Biblical; it is also against the laws of the Federal Government and Imo.
“The gospel of Jesus Christ brought salvation to humanity and this includes liberation from both spiritual and physical oppression against humanity and we identify FGM as one of such acts of oppression.
“The holy scriptures command that men, not women, be circumcised. We will therefore work to stop the practice of FGM in the 21 communities of Njaba.”
In a remark, Rev. Fr. Bonaventure Ozoigbo, the Parish Priest of Holy Rosary Parish, Umuele-Amazano, also described FGM as “a violation of the basic principles of Christianity.”
The UNICEF Programme Officer for FGM in Imo, Mr Chigozie Ojiaku, urged religious leaders to remain loyal to the pledge to help end FGM.
He said “it is erroneous the claim that FGM is Biblically supported” and called on religious leaders to change the narrative and right the wrong.
“FGM is practiced by followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam but it is not supported in the Torah, Bible or Qur’an. These are past mistakes that should be discontinued”, he said.
The UNICEF Facilitator for FGM in Imo, Mr Vitus Ekeocha, also urged religious leaders to take advantage of their acceptance in their various communities to advocate an end the practice.
He said “your moral authority in various communities gives you the opportunity, power and responsibility to help in the fight against harmful traditional practices which are not supported by the scriptures. We are counting on you.”
The NOA Director in Imo, Mr Nazzy Njoku, enjoined participants at the dialogue to utilise the opportunity to make a mark in the lives of their constituents.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was attended by leaders from the 21 communities of the local government areas. (NAN)