The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has identified basic education as an effective instrument in tackling female genital mutilation, noting that his administration will not relent in increasing access for girl-child education in the state.
Governor Obaseki said this in commemoration of International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, a United Nations-sponsored annual awareness day, as part of efforts to eradicate the global menace.
The governor said Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a violation of girls’ fundamental human right and cannot be justified by any cultural or religious myth, adding that more access to education is needed to stop FGM and end the suffering it inflicts.
The governor decried that despite the country being signatory to global declarations and policies that protect the rights of women and girls, which safeguards them from gender-based violence, female genital mutilation is still practiced in parts of Nigeria.
“On the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, we reaffirm the commitment of the Edo State Government to end this violation of human rights and stop suffering of tens of millions of girls across the world.
“This effort is especially critical because female genital mutilation leads to long-term physical, psychological and social consequences, which violates women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health, physical integrity, non-discrimination and freedom from cruel or degrading treatment. Female genital mutilation is never safe, no matter who carries it out or how clean the venue is.”
“Hence, we are calling governments all over the world to take a cue from the basic education approach of the Edo State Government in tackling this menace. This is because all over the world, education is a key driver of development and prosperity.
Access to education especially to the girl-child is a necessary tool in addressing the issue as it allows for the introduction of new concepts and the exchange of ideas, along with access to various sources of information and technology that foster social relations and developments,” he added.
According to Obaseki, “In Edo State, we are pleased with the revolutionary steps we have taken in basic education where we have trained over 11,300 primary school teachers, involved communities in school management; rebuilt about 240 schools and deployed bespoke technology in the classrooms. The net result is that over 300,000 children in our public schools not only just go to school but they now learn when in school.
“Satisfied with the situation in primaries one to six, our priority in 2020 is to redefine and improve the quality and pedagogy in the Junior Secondary School system. Our goal is that when a child goes through the first nine years of learning in the Edo State School System, he/she will have acquired the basics to achieve success in life.”