Stakeholders advocating against Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, have called called on those still carrying out the barbaric act to put an end to it, insisting that it is a crime and does great damage to a girl child.
Advocates raised their concerns during a media roundtable organized by Save Haven Development Initiative and supported by the Global Media Campaign and Frontline End FGM in Lagos.
While stating that so many Nigerians, especially in the southern part of the country, are still carrying out FGM practices, they urged t that witnessesof the practicesspeak out and report the perpetrators to elevant agencies for sanctions.he Chief Executive Director of Absolute Wellness, Dr. Oluwaseyi Adebayo, while expressing concerns about the dangers of the practice, said that some of the children that are mutilated come down with serious infections because of the use of possibly unsterilized blades.
“They come down with a serious infection that will affect them and make them die or even cause a major problem for their reproductive system, and they end up becoming infertile as a result of the infection.
“Some of them, when they are trying to give birth, could end up with complications. Again, the major one for me is the sexual displeasure that it comes with. They don’t want to have sex.” Also, the founder of Save Haven Development Initiative, Mrs. Margrete Onah, said that women and girls must not be cut because mutilation deprives women of sexual pleasure.
“Women also have the same right to sexual pleasure as men. In a place like Cross River, as part of their celebration of female children, on the day of a girl’s pride prize payment, the man will take the woman away with a wounded vagina.
“It is a big ceremony; the whole community will come, and even mothers prepare for this.”
However, she noted that there is a slight improvement in that region now.
Onah said, “Our organization has been on the ground complaining against it in that area. At least 15 out of 50 communities have totally stopped it. So their daughters can now bring their husbands and marry like every other person without cutting because we told them that they can celebrate their girl child without cutting her.”
Similarly, a traditional leader in Iju Ifako Local Government Area (LGA, Baale Makinde Adesola, said FGM is not traditionally approved.
Adesola, who is also the Coordinator of Child Protection Networking, Ifako Ijaye, said: “It is not recorded anywhere that it must be done. It’s not also medically advisable for someone to be cutting it off; it’s a great damage to a female child.” People don’t have a right to do so because they kill the child while she is still alive. The pleasure of the lady is taken away; it’s just like firewood without action. So it’s bad.
“As a traditional leader, I have been visiting the traditional birth attendants, TBAs, to preach to them to stop, and they know that I am protecting the child’s rights.” And in my community, I have been getting a little improvement, unlike before,” the Baale expressed.
In his opinion, Lagos State Child Protection Network State Secretary, Mr. Awofeso Rasheed, said: “FGM is a crime against a girl child. It is abuse because cutting the genital part of a woman is not ideal and highly suicidal.
“The law and humanity are against it. So we should find a way to decimate it. The issue must be stopped because it is a crime, and we must go back to our various communities to sensitize those who are the perpetrators that it is not ideal because of the serial health implications.
“When you go through research, it is prevalent in some zones. South Africa has the highest rate of FGM prevalence in Nigeria. In the south-east, the percentage is a bit lower, and also in the south-west.”
He advised that the advocacy should continue through the media, jingles, awareness, community members, and critical stakeholders.