TWEET CONFERENCE SCRIPT: Sustaining and Amplifying the campaign to end FGM in Nigeria through EndFGM Community Champions” on Thursday, 10th January 2019”

Female genital mutilation (FGM) otherwise known as female genital cutting or female circumcision is defined as “all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”.

In other words, it is any procedure that causes injury to the female genitals without medical indication.

The World Health Organization (@WHO), classifies FGM into four broad types, based on the anatomical extent of the procedure:

Type I (Clitoridectomy): This refers to the partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (the fold of skin covering the clitoris). This is also referred to as ‘Sunna’.

Type II (Excision): Removal (in part or whole) of the clitoris and labia minora. The labia majora may or may not be removed. 

Type III (Infibulation): Here, the vaginal orifice is narrowed, and a covering seal created by cutting and repositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora. The clitoris may also be removed. It is sometimes referred to as ‘Pharaonic’.

Type IV (Unclassified): Any other harmful procedure performed on the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example: pricking, piercing and incision of the clitoris and/or labia, stretching and/or cutting of the vagina (‘gishiri’), scraping of tissue surrounding the vaginal opening (‘angurya’) and cauterization.

It also includes the introduction of corrosive substances into the vagina to cause bleeding or to tighten or narrow the vagina. 

Despite FGM being a deeply embedded social norm with complex and various sociocultural justifications, it is and would always be a harmful and dangerous practice which can result in severe physical and mental health complications.

Effects of FGM, all negative, cannot be fully quantified as it varies from woman to woman, girl to girl. Some short term, and others long term.  

To sustain the campaign towards FGM abandonment, every community affected must be fully involved. This brings us to the place where FGM Community champions (FCC) play a major role.  

An FCC is any person who has been trained and equipped with information and skills to reach out to community members for the purpose of positively influencing decisions, actions, practices or behaviors towards FGM and it’s abandonment. 

After their training, FCC’s carry out the following community level activities:  

  • The FCCs Conducts of Interpersonal communication sessions with individuals, families and small groups
  • The FCCs conducts awareness creation in Schools, Churches, Market places, and Village meetings etc

They also Conduct educational/dialogue sessions with community groups during their regular meetings (women groups, religious groups, Male Groups, Youth groups etc.).

Additionally, the FCCs Support girls/women and influential community members to speak out against FGM

Where there are cases of FGM, the FCCs reports such cases to the appropriative Ministries, Departments or Agencies with the help of their community leaders.  If there should be any form of complication as a result of FGM, the FCCs ensures that such issues are addressed by service providers (health facilities, etc.)

The FCCs can work as volunteers for statutory bodies or agencies involved in the end FGM campaign (community, LGA, State) to deliver FGM-related services

The FCCs has the full power of their traditional rulers to monitor delivery homes to ensure female children are not subjected to FGM. Wherever a female baby is delivered within the community, the FCCs will be available to educate the family members on the dangers of FGM which is known as “household education sessions”

Once the FCCs are seen as being knowledgeable on issues concerning FGM, neighboring Communities invites them to speak to their people during community festivals. Activity reports of the FCCs are reviewed and signed by their traditional ruler as part of an endorsement of their monthly activities before it is being transmitted to the appropriate authorities at state level.

The FCCs also team up to form a forum in their community to campaign against any health issue that is not in the best interest of their Girls and Women in their Community and also expands to other neighboring community.  

The reports of the FCCs will help the traditional rulers keep track of the number of female babies delivered in their communities and the number subjected to FGM each month.

Before the selection of FCCs in a community, the following factors are to be considered:

i). Determine the number of FCCs required to cover a community (using data from assessment process).

ii). Ask community stakeholders (e.g., traditional, religious leaders, etc.) and service providers (health facilities, etc.) for recommendations for FCC candidates during regular advocacy visits.

iii). Manage expectations about the selection process, and screen candidates for conflicts of interest (e.g., nepotism).

 Preliminary interview of shortlististed FCC candidates is advised to assess their personalities and confidence to engage in discussions with people. This is be carried out before training commences.  In conclusion, In Sustaining and Amplifying the campaign to end FGM in Nigeria, we need end FGM Community Champions.


TWEET CONFERENCE SCRIPT: Enhancing Health Workers Knowledge of FGM through Pre-Service and In-Service Training – 02.08.2018

Hello Everyone. We are glad to have you join our Tweet Conference today. We hope to have you participate in this conference till we #endcuttinggirls  in this generation.

The aim of this conference is to ensure that the right message about this practice, FGM, is available to everyone and also a means to mobilise everyone to advocate for the elimination of FGM


Also note that the conference will explain basic facts about FGM, explain the importance of health workers in this campaign and the need for their knowledge base to be improved.

This section will run for 1 Hour and 45 minutes. You can start rolling in your questions from 06:45 pm. Ensure you include the hashtag  so we can track your questions.

Globally, it has been recorded that more than 200 million girls and women have undergone either one or more form of FGM in their lifetime with another 3.6 million at the risk of being cut annually.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a culturally entrenched practice that is associated with socioeconomic repercussions on girls/women, families and communities. And as such, it is known to be harmful and constitutes a form of violence and human rights violation of the child; girls and women

According to WHO in 1997, FGM entails all 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 practice which has 4 defined types is known to predate Islam and Christianity. It has no basis in religion yet has been religiously driven over the course of time.

The practice of FGM has continued for years because of various reasons and chief amongst that is the ability of advocates of the practice to always evolve with time and provide suitable explanation for the practice

According to a baseline survey conducted by UNICEF in 2015, respondents who have knowledge of FGM maintained that mothers and grandmothers are the major drivers of the practice

It was also found out that the major people supplying the services are Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), matriarchs of a particular family (based on her age and experience), etc. In some unusual cases, barbers are contracted to do the cutting

After the early days of advocacy to stop the cutting of the girl with focus on the health risks, many drivers of the practice moved swiftly to engage medical workers to save the day. Hence, the medicalization of FGM

This means #FGM is now performed by health care professionals in hospitals, clinics, homes or neutral places using surgical tools, anaesthetics and antiseptics in the hope of mitigating the immediate complications of FGM

In 2015, Prof Jaldesa and Guyo W described medicalization of FGM as the new threat as they concluded that “with increasing awareness of the adverse health consequences and greater access to health care services, health workers have become involved in performing FGM

“Data indicates that the prevalence of FGM medicalization is increasing, especially among mothers with secondary education” (Tweet 18 &19 sourced from Africa Coordinating Centre for Abandonment of FGM)

Medicalization also involves reinfinulation of deinfibulated external genitalia on women with FGM type iii following delivery and related gynecologic procedures by doctors or nurses/midwives

It has been supported and perpetuated mainly through supposedly justification, namely, harm reduction from immediate complications, fulfilment of cultural requirement among many others

It must be noted also that FGM is a means of adding to health workers’ streams of income even when the practice is outlawed.

The dangers associated with FGM are physical, psychological, social and sexual harms on women and by extension, on men. These dangers are immediate, short and long term in nature

With these associated dangers, it is believed that the medicalization of FGM is a bigger problem as the health sector has critical role to play in the global campaign to eliminate FGM

This also means that health workers must have needed knowledge to be a part of the multi-disciplinary approach aimed at eliminating female genital mutilation in this generation

As health workers are largely a unit of professionals from diverse educational and cultural background, their roles and availability at different service delivery points make them perfect advocates to

This would fit in directly into the outcomes of the global Joint Programme of the United Nation where Girls and women receive appropriate, quality and systemic services for FGM prevention, protection and care.

Hence, the need to adequately equip them with pre requisite knowledge through Pre-Service and In-Service trainings.

The Pre-Service Training for Health Workers refers to the education and training provided to health workers in training, before they actually undertake any service to end user.

While In-Service Training for Health Workers is the form of training they get from experience, capacity building and all forms of ‘on-the-job’ training to increase their efficiency and quality of services they provide

To #endcuttinggirls, it has been established that all health workers, regardless of cadre, will play vital roles. Hence, the preponderance of enhancing and monitoring of their (health workers) trainings (Pre and In Service)

To ensure that health workers are indeed empowered with the right knowledge, the regulatory bodies responsible for training of health workers must include #FGM related topics in their training modules

It is through this that health practitioners at all levels will be able to face head-on any form of issue arising from their workplace

With the appropriate knowledge on health risks, legal potholes and human rights violated by the practice of #FGM, a health worker is prepared to navigate around parents seeking to cut their girl child when such health worker is deployed to a service point

This approach will  drastically reduce the incidence of medicalized cutting, and also help the health worker to educate and counsel such parents, accordingly.

It also means that the health worker is equipped to collect and collate data, interpret and use when needed before making it available to policy makers who can use such to design programmes that will help to #endcuttinggirls

With health workers who have the required knowledge of #FGM prior to deployment to service delivery points, the legal documents that outlaw the practice can now be fully used as health workers are now collaborators and are aware of the demands of the law

As collaborators, health workers are also duly aware that their guiding rules would change to punish health workers who engage in the practice of cutting the Girl Child within or without a health facility

Knowing that the efforts to #endFGM is a continuous one, new information are constantly made available to health workers to meet the new challenges that might arise at their various centres

It is to the end that the In-Service Training of health workers is of great importance and must be invested in to ensure that health workers don’t lose sight of the goal.

The In-Service training directly prepares the health workers to respond to issues that may affect survivors directly

When survivors come into facilities for any form of help, the health workers are available to render such help as demanded. This might not necessarily be health related; could be counselling

With the usual confidence reposed in health workers, survivors would find it easier to discuss issues that bother them with health workers they are familiar with.

This will also reduce the possibility of a survivor getting wrong counsel or a parent getting tricked into cutting her girl-child for the economic gain of the adviser. It must be said that the In-Service training doesn’t have to take the structure of a formal class as health workers can learn more about #FGM through interaction with the community and stakeholders, in particular

This suggests that a health worker would learn more about cultural and religious reasons that drive the practice in her community through local engagements and relationships built.

Such interactions will help the health worker become a trusted ally in the community engagements that will drive the social norm change that will lead to the elimination of female genital mutilation

By and large, as collaborators in the campaign to #endFGM, health workers must be supplied with the information they need through constant in service training to keep ahead of their community. They must not be left alone with the assumption that ‘as health workers, they will know what to do’ as this will not only be dangerous for the cause, it might put their end users at risk.

As a group of people, while we continue to find ways to end medicalization of #FGM and elimination of the practice, we must continue to single out health workers who have shunned the practice for the deserved accolades

In this campaign, everyone is important and we urge you all to join this train to  in this generation.

For pre-service and in-service training of Health Professionals, we recommend two documents from World Health Organisation, “Guidelines on the management of health complications from FGM (WHO 2016) and “Care of women and girls living with FGM: a clinical handbook. Geneva: (WHO 2018)” .

To learn of the works my team and I have been able to do with the support of @UNICEF_Nigeria, kindly visit www.endcuttinggirls.org

You can connect with us on Twitter and Instagram through @endcuttinggirls and Endcuttinggirls Nigeria on Facebook and YouTube. You can also search  on all these platforms to learn more.

Thank you one and all.

Tweet Conferences

Tweet Conference script: Expanding the role of Children (sons & daughters) in the campaign to end FGM – 5TH JULY, 2018

From Nigeria, we welcome you all to today’s Twitter Conference of the UNICEF-UNFPA Joint Programme on FGM Elimination Campaign: Accelerating Change #encuttinggirls

Today, I and my colleague @felxfames will be taking you through the topic  – “Expanding the role of Children (sons & daughters) in the campaign to end FGM

We will tweet on the topic for 90 minutes while we will take questions and comments for the rest 30 minutes.

Join us as we share this exciting and expository time on

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 (such as stitching of the labia majoraor pricking of the clitoris) for non-medical reasons.

@WHO classified FGM into four types

Type 1: partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (clitoridectomy).

Type 2: partial or total removal of & clitoris and & labia minora, with or without excision of & labia majora (excision).
jmp; labia majora (excision).

Type 3: narrowing of & vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning of labia minora and/or & labia majora, with or without excision of & clitoris (infibulation).

Type 4: unclassified – all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.

FGM violates the human rights of girls/women, and has immediate and long-term negative effects on their health & general wellbeing. FGM is deeply rooted in tradition and persists as a social norm that is upheld by underlying gender structures and power relations.

For more information concerning FGM, kindly visit our website or YouTube Channel ( http:// www.endcuttinggirls or https://www.youtube.com/endcuttinggirlsNigeria )

Children have an important role to play in the FGM Elimination campaign in their families.

The role of children in the campaign to end FGM include, PEER EDUCATORS, ADVOCATES, CHANGE AGENTS, EDUCATORS, REPORTERS, etc.

As part of the efforts to expand the role of Children AS PEER EDUCATORS in the end FGM Campaign, The Endcuttinggils Campaign had a sensitization training for Secondary School Students in 5 State (Osun, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo and Oyo)

The project partnered with existing school clubs to sustain the end FGM campaign in Nigeria.

At the end of the sensitization exercise, the school clubs mainstreamed the end FGM campaign into their regular activities.

The students used Drama, Songs, Debate and quiz to pass disseminate end FGM messages to their fellow students.

The students had the opportunity to use their club activities in talking to their parents through drama and welcome songs during their school P.T.A meetings and other activities that brought their parents to their schools.

The students saw the information useful to share with their parents and relatives around during leisure discussions.

Students are always excited to share the new discoveries they’ve made about FGM with their peers in school and on social media. .

In this remaining part of this presentation, My Co-anchor @felxfames will share with us two stories of how Children are playing important role in the end FGM Campaign.

Thanks for the informative Tweets @OloriDaco1. I will take over from her.

We need to enlighten the children at all level that the campaign to end FGM concerns us all #endcuttinggirls

Continuous awareness should be raised to put a stop to this harmful practice.

Because the female body is unfortunately attacked and disfigured, even by those who should be its protector and life companion.

Children need to be empowered  in all level of education that no female should experience female genital mulation

In order to explain the role of Children as ADVOCATES, I will first share the story of Rabiatu had FGM at the age of seven and now she helps other girls avoid the pain that she went through.

The story of Rabiatu can be found here: https://www.actionaid.org.uk/blog/voices/2016/09/02/how-child-sponsorship-is-helping-tackle-fgm.

Rabiatu is 14, and lives in Ghana. When she was seven, her family persuaded her to have FGM. She explained;

My mother and two aunts told me that if I went through with this practice then I would be a woman of importance. They said that people would respect me. They took me to a village across the border in Togo; I now know we made that journey because the practice of FGM is illegal in my country. Once in Togo an elderly lady cut me with a sharp knife. I cried for hours, the pain was so bad I couldn’t walk for four days.

This experience made Rabiatu determined to stop any other girl from having to endure the same pain. So she joined @ActionAid ‘s Girls’ Club in Bito, where she speaks out about the dangers of FGM to other girls, and tells them about what she went through.

In order to explain the role of Children asCHANGE AGENTS, we will go to Kenya to share the storyof the five girls, called ‘The Restorers’.

In Kenya, five girls called ‘The Restorers’, created an app called i-Cut, designed to connect girls affected by FGM to legal and medical assistance.ow.ly/FSjN30dmopj 

Girls who are forced to undergo the procedure can also alert local authorities by pressing a panic button on the app.

Children can also play the role of EDUCATORS, which can happen when they take the information that they have learnt about FGM to their families and relatives.

Children love to share any information that they receive in school,or other places of learning, with their parents and relatives. So Children can also be empowered with information on FGM to share at home.

Children can be part of the FGM early warning system as REPORTERS.  They can inform to their teachers and religious leader when their parents have a baby girls so that they will remind their family not to cut her.

In conclusion, Expanding the role of Children in the end FGM campaign can help them to contribute to  campaign

Join the campaign to say “NO” and save the future generations of women. Enquire about the practice in your locality and give clear information and education to other people on the health effects of FGM.

Work with other people to stop the practice in your area. Contact health or other influential authorities in your area to notify them about the problem.

I’ll like to stop here to give room for questions, comments and feedbacks. Thank you for the time! Join us every Thursday same time to

Other exciting materials are there for your use. Join us on facebook, twitter and Instagram for our other social media activities using @endcuttinggirls.

The EndCuttingGirls Campaign has produced over 20 videos that are uploaded on our YouTube Channel (www.youTube.com/endcuttinggirlsNigeria) which can be used as educational materials during community discussions.

Tweet Conferences

TWEET CONFERENCE: Partnering with Religious Leaders in the Campaign to end FGM/C

TWEET CONFERENCE: Partnering with Religious Leaders in the Campaign to end FGM/C – Ademola Adebisi 13.04.2017

1. You are welcome to today #endfgm tweeter conference @endcuttinggirls @UNICEF @UNFPANigeria #endcuttinggirls

2. I will like 2start with FGM/C is a Partial or total removal/ massaging of d female external genitalia for no medical reasons. #endcuttinggirls

3. There are 4 types of FGM/C. TYPE I-IV all of which is harmful to girls & women health. #endcuttinggirls

4. Types; (i) Clitoridectomy (ii) Excision (iii) Infibulation (iv) Unclassified. Most practiced in Nigeria is 1&2 #endcuttinggirls

5. 200 million girls&women alive are cut in 30 countries in Africa, d Middle East &Asia where FGM is concentrated. #endcuttinggirls

6. To reduce FGM, strategies must be multi-sectoral and involve all stakeholders at different levels #endcuttinggirls

7. Nigerians take opinions of their religious leader’s serious @RCCG_ADEBOYE @pastorpoju @DavidOyedepoMin @muftimenk #endcuttinggirls

8. Hence religious leaders are great pillars to end FGM/C @jag_bros, @T_Bakare, @sam_adeyemi, @endcuttinggirls, @muftimenk, #endcuttinggirls

9. It was Banned by Islam due to the compelling evidence of the extensive damage it causes to the women’s bodies and minds.” #endcuttinggirls

10. The former Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa stated in 2007 that “The traditional form of FGM/C is a practice totally banned #endcuttinggirls

11. Globally 3m are at risk of FGM/C, 19.9m girls are survivors of FGM/C in Nigeria. It’s time we partner with religious leaders #endcuttinggirls

12. Religious leaders are key partners to #endcuttinggirls @endcuttinggirls

13. Partnering religious leaders in lectures & sensitization on the dangers & hazard involved in FGM/C #endcuttinggirls

14. How do we engage religious leader? #endcuttinggirls

i. Through high level advocacy to all religious leaders and religious stakeholders #endcuttinggirls
ii. Mobilization and sensitization of religious leader (League of Imams, CAN and PFN) endcuttinggirls

15. Religious leader should leverage on naming ceremony to sensitize parent and audience on the effect of FGM/C #endcuttinggirls

16. “Religious leaders are seen has God’s oracle” by their followers, whatever that comes out of their mouth is from God #endcuttinggirls

17. Religious leader should also include the message of Endfgm for the pregnant women at the mission house in churches #endcuttinggirls

18. The message of Endfgm should also be included in marriage counseling for intending couples in churches #endcuttinggirls

19. Message of Endfgm should be included in the church youth conventions and all other church programmes #endcuttinggirls

20. Muslims gather at least five times a day, and this is an avenue to discuss FGM on daily basis. #endcuttinggirls

21. Muslims gather in large quantity on Fridays for Jumat prayer. This is another avenue to meet larger congregation on FGM. #endcuttinggirls

22. Making Friday sermons be based on FGM would give it more importance, and a wider reach. #endcuttinggirls

23. Followers will attach more importance to issues relating to FGM if Imams preach against it on Friday sermons. #endcuttinggirls

24. Muslim have denominations/ prayer groups that meet on Sundays. This is another avenue to discuss FGM. #endcuttinggirls

25. Fortunately, majority of these groups have more females than their male counterpart. #endcuttinggirls

26. Discussing FGM with them will be of immense benefit. #endcuttinggirls

27. Some of them might be willing to share their experiences and educate others of what they are going through. #endcuttinggirls

28. Discussing FGM in weekly prayer group gathering will give room for men involvement in #endcuttinggirls.

29. Religious leaders should consider FGM as part of causes of issues in marriages when couples come for counseling. #endcuttinggirls

30. Effects of FGM should be discussed with couples when they come for counseling. #endcuttinggirls

31. Religious leaders should include discussions of FGM in their sermons during solemnization. #endcuttinggirls

32. New couples should be discouraged to mutilate their girl child when they have one. #endcuttinggirls

33. At naming ceremony or child dedication programmes, FGM should be discussed. #endcuttinggirls

34. This will serve as reminders to young/new parents and not to mutilate their girl child. #endcuttinggirls

35. It will even serve as an avenue to discuss FGM at length in case issues arise, and educate people more. #endcuttinggirls

36. FGM could be discussed in crusades and other religious gathering. #endcuttinggirls

37. Young people about to get married should be counseled before marriage on issues relating to FGM #endcuttinggirls

38. FGM/C is condemned in Bible and Quran because it endangered the girl child’s life #endcuttinggirls

39. Scholars in Islam have declared FGM/C to be un-Islamic and acts that should be abolished #endcuttinggirls, @muftimenk

40. It was not stated anywhere in Quran that girl’s child should be mutilated #endcuttinggirls, @muftimenk

41. Partnering with religious leader will help to lay more emphases to holy book where it was against FGM/C (Genesis 12-17) #endcuttinggirls

42. FGM practice should also be part of the message in churches and mosques, strategic way of #endcuttinggirls

43. Christian doctrine is clear on the sanctity of human body, No reason to mutilate girl’s child #endcuttinggirls

44. FGM is a sensitive and emotive subject. It is essential that religious leaders are involve in #endcuttinggirls

45. Together we will end FGM/C in this generation #endcuttinggirls


End Violence

Female genital mutilation: Pathetic tales of traumatised victims

•Stakeholders step up war against practice

From Taiwo Oluwadare, Ibadan

Everyday in many parts of Nigeria, tales abound of the many girls and women subjected to female genital mutilation.

As pressure continues to mount against the perpetrators of this act, stories of victims of the practice are being told – by the victims themselves and by those fighting for them.

Recently, different stakeholders gathered in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, to again address this societal malaise militating against women.

Mr. Dare Olagoke-Adaramoye

A campaigner against female genital mutilation, Mr. Dare Olagoke-Adaramoye, narrated the ordeals of some girls and women, who had suffered the negative consequences of genital mutilation. Olagoke-Adaramoye advocates for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations International Children ‘s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

Adaramoye told the story of Nneka, a married woman, who died as a result of the genital mutilation procedure she underwent as a baby in South-East Nigeria some three decades ago. As part of cultural demands and traditional beliefs of that society, Nneka, alongside other girls, had to go through the process.

Adaramoye said: “Nneka’s parents ignorantly allowed their girl to be cut because they reportedly wanted to prevent her from being promiscuous. They wanted her virginity to be preserved so that her bride price would be huge. What Nneka had was Type 3 female genital mutilation/cutting, which is called infibulation. That is the removal of all external female genitalia, which leave a small opening for blood and urine.

“This procedure is usually performed by elderly women under unsanitary conditions, with scissors, razor blade or knives; no anaesthetics were used.

“When it was time for Nneka to get married, a surgical procedure was performed to correct the damage caused to her female genitalia when she was infibulated as a child. Her genitalia had to be opened up for the passage of penis and baby.

“Four years after marriage, she was unable to conceive and had to battle infection traceable to genital mutilation/cutting. For her, sex with her husband was always a painful experience, a result of genital mutilation. In fact, she lost the urge for sex because her clitoris and both the labia majora and minora had been cut.

“She finally conceived five years after marriage. Again, her female genitalia had to be cut open to allow the passage of foetal head while she remained in serious pain. She was discharged from the hospital after some weeks, but disaster soon struck.

“One day while her husband was away at work, the suture of the surgery tore open and she began to bleed. There was no one at home to help her to the hospital. It was too late when help finally came. She had lost so much blood and she died.”

There was also the story of Bolade, a nine-year old girl, who had undergone Type 3 infibulation. The wound healed but it left a huge scar and a keloid in her genitalia. As she grew older and bigger, the keloid kept growing.

“At nine, it was already the size of a big apple,” Adaramoye said. “Her family and friends of the parents had to contribute money to make the girl undergo a specialised surgery to remove the keloid and hopefully still retain the genitalia to be intact for childbirth in future.”

Another anti-female genital mutilation campaigner, Gift Abu, told the story of another woman, who died, following the insistence of her family that she must go through the procedure. Gift, in whose arms the woman died, said the victim’s late husband had been the one shielding his wife from the razor of the circumcisers, who had their chance after he died.

Gift said: “She had been living a normal life without circumcision until she became pregnant for the second time and was due for delivery. While she struggled on her due date, community leaders insisted that it would be a taboo for their daughter to give birth uncircumcised. But as healthcare officers, we refused to allow that. During the melee, there was some delay in giving medical attention to the poor woman. She died in the process.

“Emmanuel, her five-year-old son then became an orphan, as he had lost his father two months earlier. Emmanuel’s father was protecting his wife from being cut, but after he died, the cutters found their chance. They tried to force her to undergo circumcision during labour and told me that I was to blame for her death because I told them not to cut her,” Gift, a midwife at the time, said.

Gift added that since the demise of the woman, the community abandoned Emmanuel, having declared him an outcast for being born by an unclean and uncircumcised woman.

Gift took Emmanuel and found him a safe home with a family friend, Grace, alongside two other girls, Chinwe, seven, and Faith, nine, who had also been rescued from undergoing the female genital mutilation procedure. 

Gift said Chinwe and Faith’s mothers refused to have them cut but feared that if the girls stayed with them, they would be snatched and forced to undergo the procedure.

This and many other stories show the plight of women and girls in Nigeria, who have suffered the ordeal of undergoing the age-long cultural practice of female circumcision. 

Already, there is a law in place that criminalises female circumcision in the country. The law was signed by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

At a summit recently in Mapo Hall in Ibadan, many activists promised to stop the age-long practice.

Gift said some communities in South Eastern Nigeria force adult women to undergo female circumcision when they come home during Christmas seasons. 

According to her, when the women return to their hometowns, no matter the number of years they had left home, they would be subjected to pressure to have their clitoris cut. Proponents of circumcision hold that an uncircumcised woman is liable to promiscuity.

Gift, who joined her husband, Augustine Abu, in the fight against the practice said about 80 per cent of the girls in these communities were circumcised. 

She added that in some communities, whatever position the woman might be holding in the society, once she comes home during Christmas, she must be cut.

“You don’t have a choice; you must be cut or you are seen like an outcast in the community and your voice will not be heard,” she said. 

Statistics of female genital mutilation in Nigeria made available by the National Library of Medicine noted that Nigeria had the highest absolute number of cases in the world, accounting for about one-quarter of the estimated 115–130 million circumcised women worldwide.

“In Nigeria, female genital mutilation has the highest prevalence in the South-South (77 per cent among adult women), followed by the South-East (68 per cent) and South-West (65 per cent.) The practice is on a smaller scale in the North, paradoxically tending to a more extreme form,” the report stated.

Dr. Comfort Momoh, a Nigerian medical practitioner based in the United Kingdom, renders support for women, who have gone through female genital mutilation.

The woman, who runs London’s African Well Women’s Clinic at St. Thomas’ Hospital, said she treated over 350 women suffering from female genital mutilation complications each year, even though the practice had been illegal since 1985. She added that no fewer than 30,000 young girls were under the risk of the barbaric procedure in the UK. 

“As a medical practitioner with over 25 years experience, I’m aware that a lot of consequences can arise by four types of genital mutilations,” she said.

“The first type is clitoridectomy, when the clitoris, which is the top part of the private part has been removed completely or by half. The second type is sunna, when the clitoris and inner lip is removed which is also known as Labia minora. The third type is infibulation when the clitoris, inner lip and the big lip, labia majora are removed. In this situation, the edges are stitched together leaving a tiny opening for the passage of menstrual flow as well as urine. The fourth type refers to the unclassified forms of female genital mutilation, which may involve pricking, stretching, cauterisation, or inserting herbs into the vagina.”

She added that immediate complications include excessive bleeding when the clitoris is removed, whether with scissors or blade.

“Women with genital mutilation are exposed to recurrent urinary tract infection and vaginal infections that can prevent them from getting pregnant,” she said. 

According to her, other complications include pain during sexual intercourse and during menstrual period. She said victims also stand the risk of contracting HIV. She explained that if the patient has Type 3 mutilation, she would have to be cut open again, as she wouldn’t be able to get normal penetration during sexual intercourse. 

But there seems to be some hope. At the summit in Ibadan, circumcisers agreed to stop the practice, which has been condemned as a violation of the rights of the girl child.

Practitioners of circumcision present at the event were from Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Ogun and Kwara States. They pledged to discontinue with female circumcision and stick to just male circumcision.

But it seemed not all the circumcisers, who are members of the Circumcision Descendants Association of Nigeria (CDAN), were in total agreement. Some of them admitted that the practice had no significant benefit to the child but stressed that the practice had long formed part of their business and source of livelihood. They said the trade was passed down to them by their forefathers.

One of the practitioners wondered what alternative venture the government and campaigners had for them, as they could not afford to limit their business to male circumcision alone.

Stakeholders, including their coordinator, Chief Abiola Ogundokun, explained that there were proposals to support the circumcisers in other profitable businesses. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was represented at the summit by Dr. Femi Majekodunmi, assured that the practitioners would never be let down for taking a decision to protect and empower the girl-child.

At a meeting with wives of governors from the South-West states held in Ibadan recently, wife of Oyo State governor, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, lamented that Oyo ranked third among states in Nigeria with the highest prevalence of female genital mutilation, coming behind Osun and Ekiti and ahead of Ebonyi, Imo and Lagos states. She said her office was collaborating with other stakeholders to ensure the total stoppage of the practice.

Various stakeholders are also stepping up efforts to ensure the termination of the practice. Adaramoye explained that his organisation was fully involved in the campaign.

He said: “In 2008, a global UNFPA/UNICEF joint programme on the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting was launched. The programme is currently being implemented in 17 countries. Nigeria joined the global programme in December 2013, but the actual implementation commenced in 2014 in Imo, Ebonyi, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo and Lagos states, with a joint Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Situation Assessment. These states were chosen on the basis of high prevalence of female genital mutilation cases based on the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) data in 2003, 2008 and 2013.

“According to the NDHS, the female genital mutilation prevalence rate in the South West is the highest in the country. Although little progress has been made from a prevalence rate of about 57 per cent in 2003 to 48 per cent in 2013, a lot still needs to be done. But the South-East has seen a steady increase in the practice, from 40 per cent in 2003 to 48 per cent in 2013,” he stated.

Adaramoye informed that the practice is based on myths and religion passed down for many generations. “Some communities believe that the clitoris contains powers strong enough to cause harm to a man’s reproductive organ or to damage or kill a baby during childbirth,” he said.

He stressed, however, that there were programmes dispelling these myths and putting the records straight.

He explained that programmes, campaigning against the practice are currently on social media and on radio in the six states where the prevalence of female genital mutilation is high. He also informed that many state governments are working towards implementing laws protecting the rights of women and the girl-child, especially laws on the abandonment of female genital mutilation.

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