- The Nigerian government now calls for a greater national debate to stop the harmful practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). Especially Nigerian journalists are "challenged" by the government to be more active in the national anti-FGM campaign.
Nigeria's federal Minister of Information and National Orientation, Chief Chukwuemeka Chikelu, has thrown a challenge to the Nigerian journalists to sustain the campaign against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), stressing that journalists "should make it a covenant to write at least a story on the evils of the practice which is causing serious health hazard to the womenfolk."
Speaking at a joint ministerial press briefing to mark the recent International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation in Abuja, Chief Chikelu said that "the campaign requires multifaceted approach by the various stakeholders: politicians, religious houses, traditional rulers, women organisations, musicians, et-cetera."
According to him, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) considered and approved the observance of 6 February each year as the day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation "with a view to sensitising the populace on the evils associated with the practice."
The Acting Director of community development and population activities in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Adeyemi, announced that a media award had been instituted for journalists with the best reports and highest number of stories on the campaign. According to her, the award winners were to be formally recognised at the ceremonies marking the 2005 edition of the campaign.
To this end, journalists with published work relating to the campaign against Female Genital Mutilation, she said, should send copies of such reports to her office and also to the UN's World Health Organisation (WHO).
Speaking on the occasion, Nigeria's First Lady, Chief Stella Obasanjo promised to "do everything to personally spearhead efforts aimed at eliminating this barbaric practice" and called on individual Nigerians not to practice or tolerate FGM in their homes.
Medical experts spoke viciously on the health implications of the mutilation ranging from the physical pains inflicted in the process to childbirth complications as well as inability to enjoy sex by women who are victims of FGM. According to Mrs Funso Orenuga, such "women who are victims could be reading their newspaper while the man enjoys himself during sexual intercourse."
She took her audience through the four types of genital mutilation from type one which is excision of a part of the clitoral to type four which could come in the form of total removal of female sexual instruments responsible for stimulation as well as all other female traditional circumcisions believed to reduce the sexuality of a woman or making sex sweeter for the men.
Nigerian Minister of Health, Eyitayo Lambo, said that there are twenty-eight African countries where the practice is predominant, adding that FGM prevalence is as high as 98 percent in some states in Nigeria. Also at the ceremony, representatives of international organisations further delivered goodwill messages in condemnation of FGM.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.