Govt advised to stop female genital mutilation

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By Gbenga Adams

The federal government has been advised to redouble its energy and eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria and save females from avoidable pains the practice causes the victims across Nigeria.

At a forum on the Danger of Female Genital Mutilation organised by Think right Foundation in Lagos recently, one of the speakers who does not want her name in print said, “Government needs to stop this wicked practice. I am a victim of this barbaric act. I was circumcised when I was seven years. It was a terrible experience and the effects still linger. My husband says I am like a log of wood in bed.  This is because I don’t enjoy sex at all. My marriage is on the verge of collapse.”

Also speaking at the forum, a woman, Mrs Foluke Olowoyo berated the practice as a family tradition that the federal government must immediately end.

Recounting her experience, Mrs Olowoyo said the Ekiti elders of her husband, Mr Dayo Olowoyo’s family severally told her and her husband to bring their 10-year-old girlforcircumcision in fulfilment of the tradition of the family but they did not yield to their request as many times.

In Mrs Olowoyo’s words, “Late last year, we went to the family house with our daughter to attend a burial ceremony. Surprisingly, the elders exploited thattime to forcefully seize and circumcise our daughter when my husband and I went out to get some items. We got angry but they pacified us and said it’s a taboo with grave consequencesif she wasn’t circumcised.The girl fell ill soon after due to complications and later passed away.I regret not to have run away with her to a safe place, even outside the country.”

Another speaker and victim who prefers to be anonymous condemned the practice and urged government toaddress it as a matter of urgency,said victims of female genital mutilation experienceurinary problems, depression, anxiety, broken homes, low sexual urge, painful menstrual periods among others.

According to the Foundation, female genital mutilation also known as Female Genital Cutting (FGC) is the practice of partially or totally removing external genital organs of young females aged 0-15 years for cultural purposes, one of which is to prevent promiscuity and prepare them for womanhood.

It said recent research by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and UNICEFshows that the South-Western Nigeria has the highest number of female genital mutilation cases in Nigeria.The breakdown of prevalence rate shows that Osun State has 76.3 per cent; Ekiti State, 71.2; Oyo State, 69.7 and Lagos, 44.8. In the South-East, Ebonyi State has 55.6per cent and Imo State 48.8.

According to the Foundation, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Nigeria has the highest number female genital mutilationcases globally with 41 per cent prevalence. WHO saidmore than 40 million females in Nigeria have fallen victim of the practice.