From Lateef Dada, Osogbo
A legal practitioner, Kayode Titiloye, has called for the enactment of laws that will make it a criminal offence for refusal or failure to report incidents of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and as well compel people to report it.
Titiloye who is the Director, Commercial and Legal Drafting, Osun State Ministry of Justice, made the call at “Capacity Building for Stakeholders on Female Genital Mutilation Policies and Laws,” a workshop organised by the ‘StopCut Initiative,’ in Osogbo.
Noting that genital cutting was prevalence because of refusal or failure to expose or report those perpetrating the act to the appropriate authorities, he posited that if a law is in place to punish whoever sees and refuses to report, the genital cutting will reduce drastically.
The legal practitioner who noted that there is existing law that criminalize genital cutting, observed that cultural orientation of the locals and the oath of secrecy (don’t tell on your neighbour) is still a factor and major reason why FGM still persists.
He posited that “the FGM law and Osun State law on Prohibition of FGM, 2004, should be reviewed and amended so the law can compel people to report FGM crimes, just like the whistle blower law.
“Though, most people still practicing it are now being secretive because of the laws and punishment attached and not because they believe it is bad. Cultural orientation has prevented people from reporting offenders, hence nobody has been prosecuted.
He said the media owes it as a responsibility to publish the dangers of FGM and also create awareness of existing laws that criminalizes the act, so as to change the orientation of those still engaging in the practice.
The Osun FGM Focal Officer, Toyin Adelowokan, in her presentation, urged the media to help in breaking the culture of silence on FGM and other violence acts against women, children and the Girl-Child.
She highlighted the health and social implications of FGM on girls between the ages of zero-15 and grown women, saying the cutting off of the female genitalia has no health benefits or positive outcomes.
She said through intensive campaigns against FGM by Civil Organisations, NGOs and the government in Osun, plus support from the media, incidents of FGM has reduced from 72 percent in 2013 to 45 percent in 2018.
Adelowokan disclosed that FGM is still prevalence in Ede North, Ifelodun, Olaoluwa, Orolu, Oriade and Ife Central Local Government in Osun.