Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Female circumcision, otherwise known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), is one of the legendary cultural practices in most African countries. About 28 countries of the world in Africa Asia and the Middle East, including Nigeria practice the culture.
“Circumcisers” circumcise the female folks at infancy, teenagers and adult-hood. Ladies too are circumcised before they get married. FGM comes with different health challenges such as excessive bleeding if the clitoral artery or other blood vessels are cut during the procedure, chronic urinary and genital infections, HIV, painful urination due to obstruction of the urethra and recurrent urinary tract infections. It can also result in death due to infections from tetanus and haemorrhage that can lead to shock.
At an event organised by UNFPA and UNICEF, traditional rulers of the three communities and other representatives signed the abandonment agreement with UNICEF on behalf of the circumcisers and the communities. They are Ajiroba of Abata Egba, Badiru Adeoye; Balogun of Wanikin, Emmanuel Awoyera and Akinrogun of Iyanfo-worogi.
She told Daily Sun that it was UNICEF’s consistent sensitisation programmes in the affected communities via video clips that showed moving and emotional pictures of the trauma that victims are subjected to during FGM that motivated the “practitioners” to abandon the practice.
“Due to the health, social, emotional, psychological and legal implications of the menace, UNICEF embarked on a series of campaigns aimed at ensuring total eradication, as a part of its girl child rights programmes.
“To ensure compliance, UNICEF would put in place mechanisms including setting up of community surveillance teams that would serve as watchdogs, training of community champions who would monitor cases of child labour and setting up of protection network to enforce the girl child’s rights.
On whether UNICEF would provide alternative sources of livelihood for circumcisers who used to earn a living from the practice, Olutayo said: “It is a personal decision. They have vowed to concentrate on the male child.”
The state Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Yomi Olasinde, applauded the people of the three communities forabandoning the practice and urged them to abide by the promise: “I believe that with this public declaration, nobody in these communities would ever venture into such act again as they now know the legal, social and medical implications.”
Executive Secretary, Osun State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Kayode Ogunniyi, said: “This public declaration for abandonment by the people of the communities that practice it is indeed a good news to the people of Osun State and the entire Nigeria.”
Badiru Adeoye of Abata Egba, said: “We all are aware of the implications of FGM and decided to stop it. We will continue to insist on total eradication. We shall also ensure strict compliance with the public declaration for
abandonment made today by my community and the other communities.”
Scores of female students within ages 12 and 15 were also present at the event. A couple of them told Daily Sun that they escaped falling victims of the practice at infancy and till date and vowed never to yield to any influence to undergo it in their life time “because it is not good.”