As you read this, a female, somewhere in Nigeria, is undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) or to put it another way; is being circumcised.
Nigeria accounts for about 25% of the estimated 115–130 million circumcised women in the world. Obviously this makes Nigeria the undisputed world capital of FGM.
Na waoh, wahala dey oh!
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as all procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia and/or injury to the female genital organs, whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons.
Yes, I know someone out there is asking wetin concern me? Another person is itching to tell me it’s a cultural issue handed over to them by their fore fathers and has to be maintained.
True, very true but how come you are not living in a mud house, using donkey or mule as a means of transportation and using cowries as a medium of exchange. After all your fore fathers and ancestors lived that way. Paale and maale, we get to let our ancestors rest in peace! They came, they saw and they haff gone.
The reasons given for FGM are as myriad as they are diverse. In some communities FGM is carried out as a means of controlling women’s sexuality, which is sometimes said to be insatiable if parts of the genitalia, especially the clitoris, are not removed. It is also seen as part of a girl’s initiation into womanhood and as an intrinsic part of a community’s cultural heritage while in some other communities, the external female genitalia are considered dirty and ugly and are removed, ostensibly to promote hygiene and aesthetic appeal. For those who actually carry out the cutting , its strictly a means of livelihood and man must wack and continue to wack.
The age at which FGM is carried out varies. In some areas, it’s during infancy while in others during childhood or just before marriage. The WHO classifies FGM into four different types. They range from partial or total removal of the clitoris to narrowing of the vaginal opening with a seal. The seal is formed by cutting and re-positioning the labia minora and the labia majora.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has documented multiple and serious complications of FGM. Immediate complications include bleeding that may require blood transfusion, infections including tetanus and urinary tract infections. Long-term consequences include complications during child birth, damage to the urethra resulting in leaking of urine, painful sexual intercourse as well as the psychological effects that negatively affect the individual’s sex life.
When FGM is carried out as a rite of passage and same instruments are used at the same time for several girls , the risk of HIV and Hepatitis B infections is very high. Sexual dysfunction may also contribute to marital conflicts and divorce.
The truth really is that male circumcision is culturally and medically acceptable. Scientific studies have all pointed to the advantages of male circumcision including reducing the risk of HIV Infection but forget all the mumbo jumbo, FGM has no obvious medical benefits and even the so called cultural benefits are more imagined than real.
By all means circumcise males but spare the females. FGM neither makes commonsense nor logistic sense. And….. all these, na so our ancestors want am don tire person. According to a popular joke, it’s only in Nigeria that ancestors continue to work and dictate events even after they haff gone. Please let them rest in peace!