United Nations Children Fund(UNICEF), yesterday condemned the use of hot water and Vaseline to massage baby’s vagina after birth.
UNICEF representative stated this in Ezza North local government area of the Ebonyi state during meeting with male groups in the 12 communities that make up the area on the elimination of the harmful practices in the communities.
The programme was organized by National Orientation Agency(NOA), Ebonyi state with support from UNICEF.
The representative, who is the state Director of NOA, Dr. Emma Abah, described the hot water and vaseline massage of a newborn baby’s vagina after birth as a new method employed by the perpetrators in the state which causes the baby pains, injury and discomfort.
He assured that the organization will not hesitate to prosecute anyone found engaging in such act, even as it vowed to prosecute perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation(FGM) in the state.
UNICEF and the state Ministry of Justice said once a person is arrested and taken to police for engaging in female circumcision, they would not waste any time to prosecute such a person to serve as deterrent to others.
Dr. Abah warned the communities against mutilating their girl children stating that it was now an offence to engage in the act and urged the men groups to rise to the occasion and bring the harmful practice to an end.
Earlier Barr. Ijeoma Mike- Ajanwachukwu, Desk Officer, Child Abuse and Trafficking, Ebonyi state Ministry of justice, who also spoke against the use of hot water and Vaseline to press on a girl’s vagina after birth, urged the men groups to be vigilant and report cases of FGM in their localities to security agencies for prosecution.
She vowed that the Ministry will not hesitate to prosecute and jail any offender.
She said “it is now an offence to mutilate our girl child. Our forefathers and mothers did it out of ignorance and as of then, it was not a crime. But as it stands now, it is a crime, it is an offence to mutilate girls. As ministry of Justice, whoever that is caught perpetrating FGM and taken to police, we at the Ministry of Justice will prosecute person. It is either the person is jailed or such a person pays fine or go to jail and pay fine at same time.
“We are seriously fighting to ensure that FGM is eradicated in our society. We no longer talk about how to reduce it but how to eradicate it completely. We were talking on how to reduce it and it kept increasing and went out of control to the extent that it has taken another method which includes pressing of the vagina of a new born baby with hot water, Vaseline which causes the baby serious pains and discomfort”.