By Morakinyo Moses Ola

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) includes all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified FGM into four types, and they are all practiced in Nigeria.
Type I: partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (Clitoridectomy). Subgroups of Type I FGM are: type Ia, removal of the clitoral hood or prepuce only; type Ib, removal of the clitoris with the prepuce.
Type II: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (excision). Subgroups of Type II FGM are: type IIa, removal of the labia minora only; type IIb, partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora; type IIc, partial or total removal of the clitoris, labia minora and labia majora.

Type III: narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris (infibulation). Subgroups of Type III FGM are: type IIIa, removal and apposition of the labia minora; type IIIb, removal and apposition of the labia majora. Reinfibulation is covered under this definition. This is a procedure to recreate an infibulation, for example after childbirth when defibulation is necessary.

Type IV: unclassified – all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for nonmedical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization. Type IV also includes the practice of “massaging” or applying petroleum jelly, herbal concoctions or hot water to the clitoris to desensitize it or pushing it back into the body, which is common in many parts of Nigeria, especially Imo State.

FGM has short terms and long term effects on the health and well-being of girls and women.  Short term effects of FGM include: severe pain, excessive bleeding, shock, genital tissue swelling, infections, while the long term effects include chronic genital infections, urinary tract infections, painful urination, keloids, perinatal risks, etc.

FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. FGM practice violates women and girls’ rights to health, security and physical integrity, rights to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and rights to life (when the procedure results in death)

For more information about FGM you can visit http://www.who.int or watch

FGM practice is strongly rooted in the people’s culture and so, it has not been an easy task in getting people to abandon the practice despite the harmful effects on girls and women.

It is estimated that about 200 million girls/women have undergone FGM and about 3 million girls/women per year are at risk. Unless action to end FGM is accelerated, another 68 million girls will have been cut by 2030 (Antonio Guterres – UN Sec. Gen.)

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (2016-17) revealed that 18.4% of women aged 15-49 years had undergone FGM, a decrease from 27% (2011).  Conversely, the FGM prevalence among daughters (0-14 years) rose from 19.2% (2011) to 25.3% (2016-2017).

Girls and women living with have experienced a harmful practice and should be provided quality health care, while those at risk should be protected from being subjected to this harmful procedure.

The “UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Elimination of FGM: Accelerating Change” is being implemented to end FGM in 16 countries including Nigeria. It commenced in 2008, while Nigeria joined in 2014. Phase III began in Jan. 2018 and will end by Dec. 2021.

The UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Elimination of FGM is playing a mammoth role in achieving Target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goal, which calls for the elimination of all harmful practices by 2030, under Goal 5 of the SDGs. In Nigeria, one of the strategies adopted by the “UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Eliminating FGM: Accelerating Change” is partnering with Religious leaders to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Religious leaders are Community Heroes in the campaign to end FGM.

The UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Eliminating FGM: Accelerating Change in Nigeria has carried out lots of Advocacy Dialogue with Religious leaders to end FGM.

This advocacy dialogue has made the religious leaders to take ownership of the end FGM programme

In different states where the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Eliminating FGM: Accelerating Change is being implemented, religious leaders have been in the forefront of campaigning against FGM.

FGM is practiced by followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, although it is not mentioned in the Torah, Bible, or Koran, respectively.

In Nigeria, some people practice FGM with the excuse that it has religious backing. This short clip gives an emphatic statement by prominent Islamic leaders, that FGM has no place in Islam. please watch and leave your comments.

Similarly, FGM is not a religious injunction and the Christian faith does not sanction it.

The success story behind the first FGM public declaration in Nigeria can be attributed to the role Religious leaders played in safeguarding Girls from undergoing FGM in Ebonyi State.

One of the most common misconceptions is the connection of FGM with Christianity and In reality, FGM viol2ates the basic principles of Christianity.

Religious leaders are clarifying the misconception and misinterpretation of the scriptures as regards FG2M because most of the practitioners may not personally check the authenticity of what they have heard about the scriptures.

Religious leaders are vanguards of social changes, promotion of social welfare and fight for equality, peace and human dignity.

Religious leaders have moral authority within their communities.  They have the respect and acceptance of their community which they have leveraged upon to put an end to FGM.

Some passages Religious leaders are using to campaign against the practice of FGM letting their followers to know that the practice isn’t biblical.

Exodus 4:25 (Moses Returns to Egypt): But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said.

Joshua 5:7 (Circumcision at Gilgal): So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised.

Acts: 7:8 (Stephen’s Speech to the Sanhedrin): Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth.

Romans 2:28 (The Jews and the Law): A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.

Romans 4:11 (Abraham Justified by Faith): And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.

1 Corinthians 6:18 (Sexual Immorality): Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised.

FGM has been maintained, as a religious requirement, due to ignorance of the scriptures.

The absence of proper interpretations and clarifications, give to the lay person the impression that it is allowed.

FGM defies and deforms God’s creation.

In conclusion, every part of a human being has a purpose and mutilating any part is interference in God’s creation. Could man know better than God to change His creation? 

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We can now take your Questions. 

Together we will end FGM in this generation.