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The practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) has been criminalised in Ekiti State and offenders can face prosecution and possible jail terms. This was made known by the Director of Nursing Services, Hospital Management Board (HMB) Ekiti State, Mrs Foluke Olaiya.

Olaiya revealed that the HMB, in collaboration with the United Nations Trust Fund, has come up with a policy against FGM in support of the state government.

“To mutilate means to cut off a vital part, to render imperfect, which is not acceptable,” she said. “Hence the reason female genital mutilation is no longer termed circumcision since it’s not acceptable. Ekiti enacted the anti-FGM law since 2011 which was amended in 2019. The statute stipulated a fine of N200,000 or one year imprisonment for offenders. It is now left to who wishes to face the wrath of the law.”

She continued: “Mutilating the female child from birth exposes her to dangers she may not be able to handle in the future. When a female child is born, her private part should not be tampered with at all.”

Speaking further, Mrs Olaiya maintained that it is superstitious that females that are not mutilated tend to be promiscuous.

Expatiating on some of the types of FGM practice, Olaiya said some cut off the whole clitoris which is called clitoridectomy. It makes such females to lose sexual sensation later in life. For excision, it is cutting off the whole clitoris as well as cutting the labia majora and minora which causes a big scar. When it grows back, it makes the tissue around the female genital so narrow which causes painful intercourse. Such females can also face difficulty during childbirth, she said, citing its being one of the causes of mortality among women.

She maintained that some even resort to Caesarian operations at child birth due to the keloid scars and tightness that occurred after the mutilation.

Olaiya noted that FGM has been a culture especially among Yorubas who believe it officially initiates girls into the femalehood. See termed the notion as fueled by ignorance. Rather, the Director thinks females will not have to panic during intercourse or childbirth or fear infections if they abstain from the practice.

Measures put in place to curb the FGM practice include workshops and trainings organised by the Ministry of Health to teach and create awareness for midwives  and health workers. Ms Olaiya urged mothers, mothers-in-law, and midwives to desist from FGM as it has no benefit.

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