By Douglas Okoro
A traditional ruler, Ezego Moses Okafor-Ngele, has called on Nigerians to support the campaign against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country.
Okafor-Ngele, traditional ruler of Ishiagu autonomous community in Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi, made the commendation while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Ishiagu.
He lauded the efforts of the wife of Ebonyi Governor, Mrs Rachel Umahi, to end the practice of FGM in the state.
The traditional ruler, who decried the age long harmful practice, said it was time Nigerians and the entire communities in Ebonyi joined hands with wife of the governor to end the obnoxious practice.
Okafor-Ngele who noted that the traditional institutions in the state had a great role to play in the war against female genital cutting, also appealed to traditional rulers, community/village heads and other recognised traditional authorities to support the crusade.
He said that so many innocent lives had been lost through bleeding and infection, while many victims of the ugly practice had been subjected to permanent pains, misery and fistula related ailments due to the harmful practice.
Okafor-Ngele said that the practice had been drastically reduced in some communities due to the untiring efforts of the Mrs Umahi in raising public awareness, especially rural women, on the inherent dangers in female circumcision.
The monarch however said that the occurrence of the practice was still endemic in some rural communities in the state.
While describing the current action of Umahi against the practice as “commendable’’, he promised to replicate the campaign in his domain.
“The current sensitisation campaign aimed at getting communities to officially abandon the practice of female genital mutilation by the wife of the governor is a good development and highly commendable.
“The practice has resulted to many untimely deaths, fistula ailments and even problem of child birth to victims of this heinous practice.
“Traditional rulers as custodians of the people’s culture, tradition and customs have a very important role to play in this regard; hence I am calling on my colleagues to join hands with Her Excellency to achieve 100 per cent success in this fight.
“We must encourage our subjects to abandon this harmful practice, openly denounce the practice and abolish the tradition where it still exists,’’ Okafor-Ngele urged.
He called for the sustenance of the on-going campaign and enforcement of the state law against those caught indulging in the exercise.