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Obaseki advocates Assaults Referral Centre use to check FGM

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By Nosa Akenzua, Benin

Edo state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, on Sunday, urged residents in the state to take advantage of the Vivian Ogu Sexual Assault Referral Center (SARC) in Benin City to report cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) and other forms of gender-based violence in order to eradicate the menace in the state.

Obaseki, who spoke to journalists in Benin City, said “As part of the Edo state government’s commitment to end this practice that violates women’s rights to sexual and physical integrity, non-discrimination and freedom from cruel or degradation treatment. We established the Vivian Ogu Sexual Assault Referral Center in Benin City to provide a one stop free clinic for supervisors of sexual and gender-based violence as well as the required care and support for girls.”

He added that “With our basic education reforms through our Edo Best programme, we are also equipping girls in the state with a sound educational foundation. Education is a vital tool in addressing female genital mutilation and other forms of gender-based violence as it exposes the girl child to information, new concepts and encourages them to encourage ideas along with access to various sources of information and technology that foster social relations and development.”

The governor, however, urged multilateral organisations and civil rights groups to compliment the state government’s efforts to end female genital mutilation by leading sensitisations to increase awareness that discourages cultures which allow female genital mutilation leading to physical psychological and social consequences, adding that “From offering preventive services at the primary care level to ensuring the highest quality care possible for women and girls who have already undergone FGM, healthcare providers are powerful agents for change and services in their communities.”

Meanwhile, the Edo state government has urged religious leaders and their followers to complement the state government’s efforts at curbing the spread of the second wave of coronavirus disease (COVID 19) by strictly adhering to health and safety protocols to contain the pandemic. The state ministry of health through its health educator, Mrs Felicia Omokaro, however, urged religious leaders to ensure that their followers compulsorily use face masks, wash their hands regularly and observe social distancing in order to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

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