May 25, 2022 7:38 am


By Obioma Oburuoga

Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, is described as the partial or total removal of the external genitalia of girls and young women.

It is a procedure performed on a woman or girl to alter or injure  her genitalia for no medical reasons.

To many, it is a violation of women and girls fundamental human rights.

It is on record that an estimated 200 million women and girls will be affected at the rate female circumcision otherwise known as female Genital Mutilation is going.

About 68 million females will be affected between 2015 and 2030 in twenty five countries were the act is practiced.

Community people enforcing female circumcision

The key challenge here, therefore, is not just to protect the girls currently at risk but to ensure that those yet on born are saved from the pains and danger associated with female Genital Mutilation, FGM.

In February 2022, UNICEF warned that female circumcision is on the increase in Nigeria, the reasons behind this is hidden in culture, tradition and belief system of the people.

According to them FGM, is widespread in Nigeria and estimated that about 20 million more girls will be affected.

Nigeria is, therefore, rated as been the third highest country in the world with women and girls that have undergone female circumcision, no wonder in Ihite, Imo State where a Yoruba lady Esther Oluwabumi who married an Igbo man Emmanuel Onuobia, alleged that she encountered what she described as her worst nightmare in life.

Esther Oluwabumi’s   husband, Emmanuel Onuobia, was born in Lagos (South West) Nigeria and grew up there and only visit his home state occasionally. Therefore, when they gave birth to their first daughter in 2012 in the United Kingdom, little did they know what awaits them on their return to the country.

freshly circumcised girl

As customary demands in Igbo land, when a child is born a certain traditional practices must be carried out, hence the visit from the husband’s people. on discovering that their daughter was not circumcised, hell was let lose, though the police was called to quell the tension but because it is a cultural issue they have little role to play.

The kinsmen were so powerful, that even the government  and security agencies does not get involve in FGM because of the traditional, religious and cultural belief.

According to  Mrs Esther, the pressure rather than abate increased when eventually they gave birth to their second daughter, things practically fell apart as the center could no longer hold,  “I have never been scared like the way we were besieged, they insisted that the two girls must be circumcised.

Despite attempts made to persuade them otherwise, the unfortunate thing is that police and government avoid areas like this, hence we were left to alone to their mercy”. She said.

In this part of Nigeria, South East, to be precise, uncircumcised persons are seen as ‘aru’ an unclean thing, that should be avoided.

This is because of the traditional, cultural and religious belief attached to circumcision.

Again particularly uncircumcised female according to their beliefs will turn into a prostitute that would turn out to be a disgrace to the family and the community at large both are regarded as taboo.

According to a member of the community who do not want his name mentioned, said that Emmanuel, ” should have known that we don’t tolerate uncircumcised male let alone females in our land, it pollutes our culture, it nagates our tradition and messed up our religion.

Any child born into our land becomes our general responsibility, hence our rules are bidding”. He concluded.

The insistence and forceful attempt to take the two girls, Bethany Onuobia, born in 2012 and her younger sister Chiamaka Onuobia born in 2014 for  circumcision investigation revealed forced the woman to abscond with her children.

As at the time of filling this report their whereabout is still unknown.

Also, because of the failure of Esther’s husband Emmanuel to comply with members of his Community, he was banished and forbidden from entering the village.

Apart from the disappearance of Esther Oluwabumi and her two children, Emmanuel’s whereabout is yet unknown.

About 68 million girls worldwide is expected to be at risk of Female Genital Mutilation between 2015 and 2030, Nigeria is expected to have a chunk of that figure.

Some of the children waiting to be circumcised

It is, however, hoped that international organizations will help influence the Nigerian  government to show more political will in stopping or stamping out completely the growing menace.

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