Rivers community still practicing female genital mutilation despite being outlawed by assembly


Tina Amanda

The people of Aminigboko, Emughan Clan in Abua local government area of Rivers State, have said that they can only stop female genital mutilation if their Elders and Chiefs who are the custodian of the tradition agrees to put an end to it.

They stated this to journalists when International Federation of Women Lawyers FIDA in conjunction with Medical Women Association of Nigeria, took a campaign against female genital mutilation to the people of the area, for them to stop such obnoxious and harmful practice.

This is despite a law passed by the State Assembly which prohibits such practice.

According to them, it is a traditional practice inherited from their forefathers, which is strongly believed that a woman who fails to do it will die or her baby does during child delivery.

They explained further that a woman who fails to do the circumcision will be promiscuous in nature, adding that there is monetary benefit attached to it.

Some of the circumcised women expressed happiness for such practice to stop, stressing that the circumcision makes them not to have good sexual relationships with their husbands, as they lack sex feelings, which causes problems between them and their spouses.

On her part, State President of Medical Women Association, Dr Vethy Agala, a daughter of Emughan Clan, who also escaped the female circumcision, said such practice causes several diseases to the woman body.

“I escaped it because, as a full-fledged doctor, when I got married, I was to perform the circumcision, but I told my mother that I know better and that I would not do it, and nothing happened. I have three children and they are all alive. I am not promiscuous, so it is something for every Abua woman to know that these things are just stories, it is not real. Women don’t need to be circumcised.

“Some of the health effects are the excruciating pain women go through during the process because the girls and women are held bound and the procedure is done, women can be infected in the process it is done as rite so what kind of sharp instrument are they using? A woman can have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, PID, a woman can have difficulty in delivery.

“The woman can have adhesion because when a woman is in labour, the normal stretching cannot happen due to some kind of healing have taken place in that area before. These things need not happen, we are calling on my people and every other Community still performing female genital mutilation to stop. As medical women, we are women advocate and advocating that it is a bridge of woman right”

Also Speaking, Chairperson FIDA, Ngozi Ighosebve, said that it is a breach of fundamental woman right, stressing that it is against the law of Rivers State to practice such.

“It is something we concerted, we are calling on everybody, the Police, women, the youths, particularly the legislative arm of the government of the state to stop it. It is okay to have the Laws, but the punitive measures, for us to begin to implement what the law says. It behoves on us to reorientate the people of Abua that the Rivers State government has abolished such traditions and obnoxious practice”