The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged schoolgirls in Imo State, southeast Nigeria, to always report cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) to school authorities.
The UNICEF Chief of Field Office in Enugu, Ibrahim Conteh, made the call during an event to commemorate the International Day of the Girl-Child.
Conteh, Development Diaries learnt, addressed students of the Mercy Girls High School, Ehime, Ehime-Mbano area, assuring them of UNICEF’s commitment to protecting their rights and privileges.
‘Our visit here is to let you know that you can report the practice anywhere you see it happening’, he said.
‘If your parents, teachers hear your voices, violence against you will stop. UNICEF is here to help to ensure that female genital mutilation is eliminated in Ehime Mbano.
‘We have been able to secure public declaration against FGM and we have been able to train people in various LGAs to appreciate the harmful nature of this practice’.
Conteh challenged the students to aim for academic excellence.
‘Many countries today have women as presidents and Rwanda has emerged as the country with the highest number of female lawmakers’, he said.
‘You can do better if you put your mind to work and work towards being independent’.
Also speaking at the event, a health expert from the Imo State Ministry of Health, Stella Ukaegbu, said that preventing FGM would require committed enforcement of the law.
Photo source: UN Women