Ebonyi parades 2 over alleged female genital mutilation

 A worker stands behind tools used for FGM in Africa
The Ebonyi Government on Tuesday paraded two women in Okpuitumo community, Abakaliki Local Government Area of the state over alleged genital mutilation carried out on 11 girls.

Also paraded were five parents of the victims for allegedly approving and presenting their daughters for the illegal act, following their arrest by the police.
Parading the suspects in Government House Abakaliki, Mr Donatus Owo, Chief Press Secretary to the wife of the state governor, said that they would be charged to court immediately.
Owo said the act violated the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law of the state.
“Those perpetrators have been arrested by the police command.
`We now have local government monitoring committees at the council level and the state monitoring committee headed by Mrs Stephanie Ekumankama, the Special Assistance (SA) to Wife of the Governor.
“For the local government, it is the chairpersons and for the communities, we have the traditional rulers.
“Now, anybody they arrest would be forwarded through this channel and we will now get lawyers and take them to court.
“The governor has clearly directed that they should be charged to court; the two women and the parents of the children.
“The parents are about five here and the fine is N200, 000 or five years imprisonment or both,” Owo said.
The traditional ruler of the community, Eze Stephen Ukpa, who witnessed the parade of the suspects, regretted that some of his subjects still engaged in the practice.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the leadership of the community had placed a ban on FGM in June 19, 2017.
One of the suspects, Mrs Margret Ofoke while responding to questions, however, denied having knowledge about the ban placed on Female Genital Mutilation in the community.
She also denied knowing about the VAPP law of the state.
Meanwhile, Mrs Ekumankama, faulted her claims, adding that the government had carried out proper sensitisation on the FGM ban.
She said the suspects had devised a new strategy of carrying out the act under the cover of the night.
“The act is being carried out in the night. The governor and his wife Mrs Rachael Umahi are not happy at all, and they are asking that the law should take its cause.
“Ignorance is not an excuse when it comes to law. We have done several programmes and stepped it up at the community level to ensure that everybody is aware.
“Abakaliki happens to be one of the local governments under Izzi clan and then, we did a major programme there where all the traditional rulers denounced the practice in their communities.
“I want to believe that they are not ignorant to have done it in the night,” Ekumankama said.
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