ARH’23 Chairperson, Kemi Olokode-Ayelabola Decries Harmful Traditional Practices Against Girl-Child, Seeks Stiffer Legislation

 

Chairperson and Convener of Asiwaju Renewed Hope (ARH’23), Kemi Olokode-Ayelabola has decried increasing cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) against women and girls in spite of the domestication of extant laws in the country.

 

Olokode-Ayelabola, a resident of the Republic of Ireland who mobilised and campaigned for President Bola Tinubu during the February 2023 presidential poll is a behavioral, developmental and child/young persons care professional.

 

In a statement she made available to newsmen on Thursday, June, 6, 2024, she called for stiffer legislations from both legislative and executive arm of government so as to mitigate against all forms of harmful traditional practices in the country particularly on the girl-child.

 

Kemi, while describing Nigeria as one with high rate of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) cases, said such harmful practice persists in spite of a number of reforms and laws to curb the disdainful, distasteful and reprehensible menace.

 

She said “While I agree that the Nigerian government has undertaken a number of health reforms, including laws against harmful traditional practices, many cultural and religious practices still put the health of women in serious jeopardy and this needs to stop. For me, it is a wicked act to partially or totally remove the female external genitalia, usually done in many communities for non-medical reasons, which is a clear violation of the fundamental rights of the female gender. This is completely unacceptable and should be curbed.

 

“I am really worried to see that in 2024 there is still high prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in many communities in Nigeria. Sadly, medical experts said the impacts of FGM can be long-lasting, life-threatening and psychologically devastating. The risk of infection or death due to the process is now well documented, with many girls dying during or after the process due to haemorrhaging, some even suffer infertility.

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“Similarly, painful and debilitating infections are often contracted due to the use of implements such as scissors or razor blades in non-sterile settings. Infertility and the increased chance of complications during childbirth are two long-term impacts, along with the psychological trauma that women who have to undergo FGM are subjected to both at the time and during later life.

 

“Majority of children who undergo this traumatic experience are not given a choice on whether to undertake the process or not, which often leads to severe medical implications. I also know that group scarification, involving using shared instruments, has serious implications for the transmission of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, and other diseases.

 

“Frankly, the dignity and rights of women must be protected at all times and the government needs to take proactive steps to keep the female gender safe in every sense. Violence and harmful practices endanger the lives of women and girls, hence the legislative and executive arms of government at states and at the Federal levels need to domesticate effective and implementable laws and policies to serve as deterrent and eliminate harmful traditional practices in totality. Our women must be allowed to breathe with conditions attached,” Ayelabola stated.

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