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EKITI: Female genital mutilation practitioners surrender tools in return for empowerment package

….as First Lady commences advocacy tour of communities in the state

Scores of practitioners of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Ikole Local Government area of Ekiti State on Monday surrendered their instruments to the Wife of the Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, with a promise not to return to the practice considered as dangerous to the lives of women.

The repentant FGM Practitioners, mostly women also signed a legal agreement with the State government not to return to the widely acclaimed outdated practice.

The development came as the First lady commenced her community engagement and advocacy tour of the 16 local government areas of the state.

Enlightenment campaigns against genital mutilation, gender based violence, sex abuse were some of the highlights of the advocacy tour which also featured empowerment packages for women and the elderly citizens.

Erelu Fayemi, who praised the women for renouncing the obsolete practice of genital mutilation, said the state government is determined to step up its war against rape, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), child slavery and open defecation that have constituted a national shame to the state.

Erelu Fayemi who lamented that Ekiti was ranked first in open defecation and third in female genital mutilation practices in the country, urged the FMG practitioners who were prepared to dump the practice to surrender their instruments in exchange for viable empowered package from the state government.

Several women who were practitioners of FMG came out and renounced the practice. They also surrendered their tools to the Wife of the Governor, who got them registered for government’s empowerment programme.

Speaking further, Erelu Fayemi who praised the repentant practitioners of FMG for denouncing the practice,

insisted that rapists and those obstructing justice in the trials of sex offenders will continue to face the wrath of the law under the  Governor Kayode Fayemi-led administration, through diligent prosecution and conviction.

The First Lady said she embarked on the tour to engage the communities on their problems  and to  make advocacy on the need  to stop the menaces  of Female  Genital Mutilation (FGM), open defecation, domestic violence against women, child trafficking and rape, that have become rampant in the society  .

She said it was shameful for Ekiti to be leading in Female Genital Mutilation and open defecation in the country, saying such odious practices must stop.

“It is a shameful thing for Ekiti to be ranked third in female genital mutilation. This is unacceptable to us.

“In open defecation, Ekiti came first in Nigeria. Let us stop the practice, because it endangers our lives. The government will soon provide toilet facilities across the state”.

The First Lady said as part of her contribution to Governor Fayemi’s Social Security for the elderly billed to commence next month, she has added another programme called “Food for the Elderly” (Ounje Arugbo), adding that a total 1,000 elderly citizens will benefit from the programme monthly.

“The essence of this tour is to engage in advocacy, because we need to pay more attention to the health of our

women. Those who are of child bearing age should go to hospital for medical care. 10,000 delivery packs (Mama Kit) have been provided which will be distributed to pregnant women.

“The issue of gender violence is also of concern to us. Please, husbands, don’t beat your wives. If you are being beaten by your husbands, please report to the nearest police station, because we have a law that prohibited that. Don’t wait until you are killed.

“If someone defiled any child and you come to beg, the person will be treated as an accomplice”, she warned.

The Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Mojisola Fafure, said the empowerment and advocacy visit was an indication that Governor Fayemi was passionate about issues that affect women.

Materials distributed at the event held in the two councils include: cash, grinding machines, sewing machines, hair dryers, cooking gas, Coolers and raw foods to the elderly (Onje Arugbo).

Sunday Olatunji
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.