]According to (WHO) World Health Organization, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. In many settings, health care providers perform FGM due to the erroneous belief that the procedure is safe. WHO strongly urges health professionals not to perform such procedures.
FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.
Every year, millions of girls and women across the world are subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) supported by ancient traditions. The act is a mark of the social control over women’s body and behaviors. The practice has harmful consequences for women’s health ranging from kidney infections, complications during child birth and fatal bleeding to psychological damages which has negative consequence for a lifetime.
Mostly practiced in Asia and Africa, Female Genital Mutilation varies from country to country, tribes, religions and cultural settings. In spite of the United Nations resolution prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation practice and laws banning the procedure, it is still a common phenomenon in our rural areas; especially in Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Nigeria has the highest prevalence rate of FGM in the world with about 40 million women said to have undergone the practice in the country thus indicating about 41% prevalence.
In most part of Nigeria, FGM is always carried out at a very tender age giving no room for individual’s consent. It deprives this young girls the opportunity to make independent decisions about their bodies which makes the practice barbaric. It is indeed a crime against women’s free will. According to a survey conducted by the United Nations Population funds (UNPF) in 2015 showed that the practice was high in South-West in spite of the geo-political zone’s high literacy and awareness rate.
The report said Osun State still ranks the highest in the prevalence of FGM practice in Nigeria with 76.3%, followed closely by Ekiti which had 71.2%, Oyo 69.7%, Ebonyi 55.6%, Imo 48.8% and Lagos 44.8%.
Tales of horror abound of the many girls and women subjected to Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria as pressure continues to mount against perpetrators of this act, stories of victims of the practice are being told by the victims themselves and by those fighting for them.
In a recent development, somewhere in one of the parts Yoruba land, one Mrs. Abimbola Grace Omotayo fled the shores of Nigeria with her daughter Inumidun Marvelous Omotayo in a bid to escape the Painful and senseless act of Female Genital Mutilation her daughter will be subjected to as a result of the traditions of her husband’s family.
In Asaolu Adegbibi which happens to be Abimbola Omotayo’s husband’s family, it is mandatory for every girl child to be circumcised at a tender age and refusing to do so, such child will be tagged an outcast by the family.
Though Inumidun Marvelous Omotayo happens to be among the few lucky ones to have escaped the Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria, the coast seem not to be clear yet. Recently, the head of Asaolu Adegbibi Omotayo’s family mounted pressure on Mrs. Abimbola Grace Omotayo to return Inumidun back to Nigeria in order for him to perform the aged long tradition of circumcision on her, he however warned that failing to do so will have a negative consequence.
Mrs. Abimbola coming back to Nigeria is not the solution to her daughter’s travail. She has every reason to be concerned based on the statistics of Female Genital Mutilation that has gone wrong in the rural parts of Nigeria and her immediate community.
In conclusion, it is important that the Nigerian government works towards implementing laws protecting the rights of women and the girl child in our society. A multifaceted approach is needed to tackle this deep rooted problem, there is a need for health education, female emancipation and the collective coordinated agreement to abandon the practice in Nigeria.