Home News Stakeholders Meet to Seek End to Female Genital Mutilation

Stakeholders Meet to Seek End to Female Genital Mutilation

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By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan

Female genital mutilation has been described as a heinous crime against womanhood, communities and humanity which has no benefit.

In order to put an end to what they called barbaric act, stakeholders under the auspices of Circumcision Descendants Association of Nigeria (CDAN) in collaboration with the Guardian Global Media Campaign (GGMC), in Ibadan on Monday spoke with one voice on the need to end female genital mutilation, describing it as a violation against women rights.

Held at the historic ancient Mapo Hall, Ibadan, the one-day summit had in attendance former President Olusegun Obasanjo; wife of the Osun State governor, Alhaja Sherifat Aregbesola; the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Olawale Akanbi, Telu 1; Mrs Maggie Kane; the Editor and Coordinator of the Guardian Media Golabal Campaign, London, Dr. Comfort Momoh, MBE(a medical practitioner and UK Queen’s Award winner), and a host other anti-female genital mutilation campaigners.

Host of the event was High Chief Abiola Ogundokun, the chairman, Board of Trustees and Coordinator of the Circumcision Descendants Association of Nigeria(CDAN).

While delivering his keynote address, former President Obasanjo who was represented by Dr. Femi Majekodunmi stated that female genital mutilation remained a pressing human rights issue regarding its harmful effects.

He pointed out that it is a direct violation of young girl’s rights both long and short terms, stressing its adverse effects in the nearest future.

“FGM, as stated in the beginning, is a violation of the rights of women and of young girs who had no say on the matter. It is of no advantage to those who were subverted to this inhuman act.”

“It is therefore very important that people receive the necessary education and information to make them aware of the gravity of FGM so that they may be converted,” he said.

Obasanjo, however, applauded Oyo State and all other states for joining the war against female genital mutilation, while advocating a national legislation against the practice.

Mrs. Aregbesola, represented by Mrs. Kafayat Oyetola, wife of the Chief of Staff, on her own, expressed joy at the development and promised that after this major step, her advocacy would begin a neighbourhood to neighbourhood campaign.

The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Akanbi, in his remark, commended everyone working for the total eradication of female genital mutilation.

He said it could be totally eradicated because just like many traditional practices, it was the idea of one person before it gained general acceptance.

The monarch likened the practice to that of killing of twins which was eventually stopped, adding that female genital mutilation could be stopped and must be stopped because “the only thing the creator commanded that should be thrown away from the female child is the umbilical cord, not any part of the reproductive or sexual organ.”

Earlier in his address of welcome, High Chief Ogundokun recalled that in the Yoruba communities, the emergence of these practitioners was dated back to when strong cultural values were placed on circumcision for both male and female children, adding that the traditional rulers then were provided with a team of circumcisers, who by tradition came from a particular family known as the ‘Oloola,’ which then became the circumcisers for their various towns and communities.

“These are the persons responsible for circumcising both males and females, including tribal marks and tattoos,” Chief Ogundokun explained.

He, however, added that whoever that did not come from the ‘Oloola’ family and attempted to play the role would be seen as a quack and would be penalised.

“So, it is a statutory role conferred on the Oloola by the tradition and this dates back to a long distant past,” he said.

Chief Ogundokun further explained that the circumcisers came together to form the CDAN because of the need to join the local and international advocacy against female genital mutilation.

The circumcision practitioners present at the summit were drawn from the South-west states of Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Ogun as well as Kwara.

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