Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or circumcision of female external genitals is simply the cutting or removal of the parts of the female external genitalia (labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, et cetera), depending on the type of FGM.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.”
There are four types of FGM; type one is the partial or total removal of the clitoris, type two is the partial and total removal of the clitoris and labia minora, type three is infibulation which is the closure or narrowing of the vagina in which a small part is remained for the passage of urine and menstrual fluid, type four is unspecified and it includes piercing, scraping or picking of the vagina.
FGM is one of the age-long cultural practice in Africa. It has become part of culture, beliefs, practices and traditions of the people. The practice has been done with the belief that it prevents promiscuous behaviour and sexual rascality of females. Another myth that is widely believed is that if an uncut woman has a baby, it will die because the baby’s head will touch the mother’s clitoris. Or an uncut clitoris will grow until it becomes bigger than a penis and can lead to sexual rascality of the girl-child. But all these had brought excessive pain, low self-esteem, medical complications (excessive bleeding, shock, infection, death, et cetera) to the victims.
According to UNICEF report in 2015, Nigeria has the highest number of FGM cases across the globe with about a quarter of the world’s estimated 115-130 million circumcised women. Five states rank highest among those still practising FGM. They are Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Oyo and Osun. Out of these states, Osun State is said to have the highest percentage (77%). (Adeyi C. (2018, June 13). Female Genital Mutilation: Osun ranks highest. South-West magazine.)
According to the Gender Health expert, Ede North has the highest prevalence of 88%, Ifelodun has 81%, Olaoluwa and Orolu have 76%, Oriade has 71% while Ife Central has 67% prevalence. (Olarinoye G. (2018, February 9). NGO, Govt wage war against female genital mutilation in Osun. Vanguard.)
The Osun State Government knows why the state has one of the highest prevalent rate of FGM practices in Nigeria. An official of the State Ministry of Health, Mrs Toyin Adelowokan stated in the one-day consensus meeting with some traditional rulers and birth attendants on the increasing rate of FGM in the state, “Efforts are already put in motion by the state government in conjunction with notable Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) to abolish the practice in all the communities in the state, The state government is planning to introduce sex education into the secondary school curriculum as a means of sensitizing the students on the evils of FGM before they start giving birth to children.” Mrs Adelowokan mentioned that various groups of people have been trained on the evils of FGM. Good plans, but she also knows that all those efforts can only work when they have the support of religious and traditional leaders. Therefore, she quickly added that the situation calls for urgent attention of traditional rulers and community heads. She called on religious and community leaders to help the government by sensitizing the people on the evils of the FGM to ensure an abolition of the practice. As for the government, they are ready to support any move that will bring an end to the practice.
In conclusion, OVIWCE is determined to bring an end to FGM in Osun State. We believe this is a feat that can be achieved and FGM can be a thing of the past. Therefore, we solicit for support in all areas to make this a reality.
OVIWCE State Coordinator,
Oluwafikemi Osogbon M.