…as ministry raises the alarm over rise in child abductions as police recover six
Uchenna Inya, Abakaliki
The European Union-United Nations (EU-UN), Monday said Female Genital Mutilation(FGM) persists in Nigeria due to deeply entrenched cultural practice and beliefs in many communities with regional and ethnic variations in prevalence.
It also identified ignorance and limited knowledge of the harmful nature of the phenomenon as well as existing laws against the practice as the reasons the act persists in the country.
The organisation stated this at a four-day media dialogue with media practitioners on ethical reporting and advocacy to eliminate violence against women and girls in Ebonyi and Cross River states.
The programme was organised by the body in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Information.
In his presentation at the workshop on behalf of the European Union, the United Nations Children’s Fund Child Specialist, Victor Atuchukwu further identified weak and poor enforcement of existing FGM laws, weak national and state level FGM response coordination bodies and financial gains as the reason the practice persists in Nigeria.
He explained that a 2018 National Democratic Health Survey revealed that FGM among girls aged 0-14 was the most common among girls whose mothers had no education and from the lowest wealth quintile.
In her remarks, Barr. Mike Aja-Nwachukwu of the Ebonyi State Ministry of Justice lamented the increase in cases of violence against women and children in the state and called on the media to rise up to the challenge by effectively reporting the cases and following them.
She raised the alarm over increase in child abductions in the state and said that the ministry had recorded over 30 cases.
Mrs. Loveth Okimor, Gender Desk Officer, Ebonyi State Police Command, corroborated Mrs. Ajanwachukwu on the increase of child stealing in the state.
She, however, said that the command had recovered six of the stolen children this year and regretted that parents of stolen children have abandoned expenses involved in the recovery of their children to the police which according to her makes their work very difficult.