By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo
A non- governmental organisation in Osun state, Value Female Network (VFN) has unveiled two free toll rescue lines designed to facilitate prompt report of occasions of Female Genital Mutilation or cutting in the state.
According to the Executive Director of the NGO, Dr Costly Aderibigbe, the unveiling of the rescue lines was part of VFN’s efforts at ensuring that the deadly practice is abolished in the state.
Osun is said to have the highest prevalence of FGM in Southwest region.
Unveiling the rescue lines on Thursday during the International Zero Tolerance Day for FGM in Osogbo, which VFN joined other organisations and state government to mark through sensitisation, Aderibigbe said the lines had been made toll free so that residents could call in and inform VFN of any incidence of FGM.
To ensure that awareness of the rescue lines is created across all the local government of Osun so that residents could make use of it efficiently, VFN has solicited the collaboration of the State government through the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Affairs to the initiative.
At a courtesy visit paid to the Commissioner of the ministry, Barrister Olubukola Olaboopo in her office on Wednesday, by the Executive and members of VFN, the rescue lines were presented to the Commissioner.
Aderibigbe, while addressing the Commissioner, sought for the state government support in VFN’s efforts of ensuring zero tolerance for the practice.
“We came up with these free toll rescue lines because of our passion to seeing to the end of FGM in Osun state. We believe that when people start reporting and exposing this practice and where they are done, our interventions would ensure that it is checkmated immediately.
” We have also made the lines toll free so that people would not have any excuse of not calling. So, they can call whether they have airtime on their phones or not. There already made team of professionals like doctor, lawyers and anti- FGM counselors that would attended to the distress call promptly.
“We also seek partnership with the state government so that people will be aware of these lines. Once the agents that we have put in charge of these lines get the call, they would also carry the government along. The numbers have been simplified for easy remembrance,. They rescue lines are 0800FGMRESCUE or (+234)9023227272,”Aderibigbe explained.
Reacting, the Commissioner commenced VFN for the initiative and other efforts at tackling critical issues affecting the girl and boy children in the state.
Adeboopo pledged necessary support for the rescue lines popularisation with an assurance that the state government would use them.
She said, ” I want to commend your efforts and to encourage you not to relent in your humanitarian efforts. For these rescue lines, I want to assure you that we will use the rescue lines. The ministry has resecue lines but they are not toll free like yours. We are ready to always partner with your organization. “