A dark plague indeed! I decided to visit the ceremonial venue to see if I could make an intervention. I have been on a mission to Nigeria with the team from the Africa CDC and we have spent about a month trying to set up one of the CDC regional office in West Africa. Even though I had arrived Abuja as scheduled for my mission, my decision to travel down to the Southern part of Nigeria to visit the venue of this obscene practiced prompted from the headline I saw on one of the local newsprint. I have heard severally sometimes back that Female Genital Mutilation was still practiced in some communities across West Africa even though the practice had been noted to be prevalent in about thirty (30) countries in Africa.
Having worked on projects to end FGM in the past, I have received several answers to this question. In some places, Female Genital Mutilation is basically a cultural practice which the society welcomes. FGM most often is associated with the passage of young girls into womanhood. Several ways of performing FGM exist but the more typical method of cutting is performed on the young girls. A more severe method called clipping are carried out on the older teenagers. In some other communities, FMG is a compulsory process underwent before marriage. In these communities, young women who have been cut gain higher status and are respected.
|At The Ceremony with Older Women.|
My encounter in Edo state, Nigeria.
Prior to my engagement with the women and priestess who perform the rite, I met with the chief of the village and presented my proposals but it was rightly discarded. The women kicked against my intention to intervene. The young girls bleed profusely, a really horror sight to behold as the ceremony rolled on. I know a lot has been done to put to an end to Female Genital Mutilation but more still has to be done. Communities such as the one I visited needs to be educated on the need to live in accordance with the basic principle of fundamental human rights. More families, communities and villages still need to be specifically enlightened on the rights of girls and women. My experience in Edo state shows that people and communities across Africa still believes strongly in FGM.