This is 2016 and people are still into Female circumcision more than a year since Former President GoodluckJonathan signed the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill into law. Its very pathetic and absurd to think such archaic tradition is still being practiced all in the name of tradition.
Female Genital Mutilation comes with a lot of baggage and it includes; childbirth complications, severe bleeding, infertility, infections and other health issues. United Nation and other Local NGOs that promote the awareness and carry the fight against FGM in rural communities are holding various campaigns and somehow, it still doesn’t seem enough after millions of dollars have been sunk into series projects just to combat this archaic tradition still practiced by deep-rooted families.
I recently had the privilege to hear the story of two victims;one direct source and a secondary source for the younger one. A Miss. Mutiat Fashina, whom I met while I was at Abeokuta investigating the illegal or underground world of Female Circumcision in that region, shared her circumcision story with us. She’s 35 years old now, but told us about how most of her current problems and trauma started at the age of 3, when she was circumcised. She was so specific in describing the pain and discomfort she went through from that day until it healed, since then, it has been a rollercoaster of pains, bleeding, infections, well, she finally overcame all that, but once a while she relives the trauma. She has thrown her full weight behind Anti-FGM campaigns and vows never to allow her daughters endure such callousness and barbaric rite that has no health benefit save for causing pain and possible death. She just hopes that’s the last of the effect of that assault on her, she prays it doesn’t affect her chances of getting pregnant as well as childbirth complications in the future.
Miss Mutiat urged me to talk to her brother, Mr. AkeemFashina, whom was based in Abuja. She insisted I tried to interview him as he has his experience with the circumcision of his daughter brother. I made my way down to Abuja to go hear Mr. Akeem Fashina’s story. He told a heart-wrenching story about how his 9year old daughter, Miss. Fareeda Fashina, was circumcised when she was ayear old baby. He recalled the experience with teary eyes, while his anger couldn’t be hidden as his shaky voice betrayed him. It happened while he was away at work in Maiduguri; his family lived in Ibadan back then, close to his parents and extended family. He had told them he wasn’t interested in circumcising his daughter and would gladly do so when he gave birth to a boy, but the girl should remain uncircumcised. He was well aware of the dangers of FGM hence the standoff with his family, which happened at least once every week until he travelled. His family claimed it was tradition; his mother was circumcised with other members of his ancestors on both sides of his parents, so why would he want to end such a tradition. When he returned from his journey to discover what had happened to his baby girl, he said he had a fierce altercation with his father, and then proceeded to move his family to Abuja. Mr. Fashina seemed pleased he made that decision and somehow struggles with seeing his daughter battle with the pain and infections, and went as far as bringing out her medical reports as proof, he hopes there will be no complications for her in the future. He has long forgiven his father for harming his daughter and only prays his younger brother doesn’t give birth to a baby girl anytime soon because he is certain she would get circumcised also.
My investigations took me to the hilly side of Southwest Nigeria, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State. Where I met with a widower, Mr. Famuroye who narrated how he lost both his wife and unborn child during childbirth by complications resulting from the circumcision she had as a child. He narrated how she endured coitus with him and as a result, how they rarely engaged in the act, also how she bled excessively during her menstrual period. He also decided to join the fight against Female Genital Mutilation in his community and protect every girl in his own little way. He showed us her grave where he had another crying fit, all of which could have been avoided if someone somewhere had realised that female circumcision was all about the harm without any of the benefits.
Anti-FGMs are sprouting up here and there, but somehow, people still practice this archaic and barbaric tradition. I believe the laws should be enforced and defaulters should be jailed, and these people. Why would you risk another human beings life and put her chances of having a child on the line because of TRADITION? It is really uncalled for and more really needs to be done to end Female Genital Mutilation completely. Yet, according to an article by Eagle Online, Southwest Nigeria accounts for 56.9% of female circumcision cases, while Southeast accounts for 40.8% to which South South is responsible for 34.8%. Although the North accounts for about 9%, it practices the worst kind of female circumcision, infibulation, where the clitoris is completely severed off and vagina is stitched in a way to allow the small hole for urination. Barbaric. We really need to do better to save future generations from pain and death of this so-called tradition.