By Victor Nwachukwu
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have called on the Imo House of Assembly to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act.
The agencies made the call at a workshop for community leaders from Njaba Local Government Area (LGA) on the need to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the state.
In a speech, the NOA Director in Imo, Mr Nazzy Njoku, commended the state assembly for enacting the Female Genital Mutilation (Prohibition) Law (No. 6 of 2017).
He, however, said that domesticating VAPP Act would further help to reduce the ugly practice of FGM in the state to its barest minimum.
“FGM may not end without proper legislation. This is why we commend the house for enacting the FGM (Prohibition) Law and hope that soon, the VAPP Act will be domesticated in Imo,” he said.
Also, NOA Director in Njaba LGA, Mrs Nkechi Onunwa, said although FGM is a cultural practice, it should be discontinued because “it is not advantageous”.
Also, the UNICEF Facilitator for FGM in Imo, Mr Vitus Ekeocha, said the workshop was part of the agency’s community-to-community dialogue for the elimination of FGM in the 21 communities of the LGA.
Ekeocha, who described FGM as “a form of violence against persons”, said negative effects of the practice, such as low self esteem and sexual dysfunction in marriage, could further be avoided with the domestication of VAPP Act in Imo.
Also, the UNICEF Programme Officer for FGM in the state, Mr Chigozie Orjiako, urged community leaders to appeal to residents of their communities to consider ending the practice.
“Do not let your determination to save future generations of girls and women get dampened when you notice some persons around you, who may not agree to end FGM.
“Let your love and passion for the welfare of the girl child be the motivating factor.
“Remember the slogan: ‘Odinma nwanyi bu ka Chi siri kee ya’ (meaning, The beauty of womanhood lies in her natural form),” he said.
Mrs Onyinyechi Amaefule, the General Secretary, Women’s Wing of Amakor Autonomous Community Development Union, thanked the facilitators for the workshop and their positive thoughts for Njaba people.
Amaefule promised that women of the area would support the efforts of the facilitators in the dissemination of the information to the nooks and crannies of the LGA.
Also, Mr Ifeanyichikwu Nwokocha, President General, Eluama-Abueke Autonomous Community in Ihitte Uboma LGA, where FGM had reportedly been abolished, urged the community leaders to sustain the abolition of the practice in the interest of the girl child. (NAN)