Learn all about female genital mutilation in Nigeria

female genital mutilation in nigeria

Prevalence of Female genital mutilation (FGM)

female genital mutilation in nigeria
female genital mutilation in Nigeria

Female genital mutilation in Nigeria is widely distributed, this is due to its large population, Nigeria has the highest absolute number of female genital mutilation (FGM) worldwide, accounting for about one-quarter of the estimated 115–130 million circumcised women in the world.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is outlined as all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external {female reproductive organia|female genitals|female genital organ|fanny|genitalia|genital organ|genitals|private parts|privates|crotch} and/or injury to the feminine genital organs, whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons. In Nigeria, the subjection of women and girls to obscure ancient practices is famous. FGM is an unhealthy ancient practice inflicted on women and girls worldwide Female genital mutilation in Nigeria is widely recognized as a violation of human rights, which is deeply rooted in cultural beliefs and perceptions over decades and generations with no easy task for a change.

FGM varies in countries, tribes, religion, states and cultural setting to another, and no continent in the world has been exempted. In most parts, female genital mutilation in Nigeria is carried out at a very young age (minors) and there is no possibility of the individual's consent

Though FGM is practiced in more than twenty-eight countries in Africa and a number of scattered communities worldwide, its burden is seen in Nigeria, Egypt, Mali, Eritrea, Sudan, Central African Republic, and the northern part of Ghana where it's been an old ancient and cultural practice of varied ethnic teams.

FGM is practiced in Nigeria, and its large population, Nigeria has the highest absolute number of cases of FGM in the world, accounting for about one-quarter of the estimated 115–130 million circumcised women worldwide. In Nigeria, of the six largest ethnic groups, the Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani, Ibo, Ijaw, and Kanuri, solely the Fulani don't observe any form.

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The practice of FGM has no relationship with religion. Muslims and Christians practice it, but it is more widely spread in Christian predominated parts of Nigeria with extreme forms of FGM prevalent in the North


Types and Forms of Female Genital Mutilation  in Nigeria

Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria is classified into four types as follows.

Clitoridectomy -Type I (the least severe form of the practice): It involves the removal of the prepuce or the hood of the clitoris and all or part of the clitoris. In Nigeria, this typically involves excision of only a section of the clit.

Sunna- Type II: is a more severe practice that involves the removal of the clitoris along with partial or total excision of the labia minora. Type I and type II are more widespread however less harmful compared to type III.

Infibulation- Type III: is the most severe form of FGM. It involves the removal of the clit, the labia minora and adjacent medial part of the labia majora and the stitching of the vaginal orifice, leaving an opening of the size of a pinhead to permit for menstrual flow or pee.

Type IV or different unclassified types recognized by include introcision and gishiri cuts, pricking, piercing, or incision of the clitoris and/or labia, scraping and/or cutting of the vagina (angrya cuts), stretching the clit and/or labia, cauterization, the introduction of corrosive substances and herbs in the vagina, and other forms.

Women's rights in view with FGM

FGM is recognized worldwide as a basic violation of the human rights of women and girls. It reflects established inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme type of discrimination against ladies. It involves violation of rights of the kids and violation of an individual's right to health, security, and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman treatment, the right to life when the procedure results in death. Also, girls undergo the practice without their consent, depriving them of the opportunity to make an independent decision about their bodies.

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Health RIsk of FGM

A calculable 100–140 million ladies and girls worldwide are presently living with the implications of FGM. In Africa, regarding three million ladies are in danger for FGM annually. Despite the increased international and little national attention, , the prevalence of female genital mutilation in Nigeria overall has declined very little. The procedure has no established health benefits for the sex involved.

Adverse consequences of FGM are

  • shock from pain and hemorrhage,
  • infection
  • acute urinary retention following such trauma
  • damage to the urethra or anus in the struggle of the victim throughout the procedure making the extent of the operation dictated in several cases by chance,
  • chronic pelvic infection
  • acquired gynatresia leading to hematocolpos, vulval adhesions, dysmenorrhea, retention cysts, and sexual difficulties with anorgasmia.
  • Other complications are implantation dermoid cysts and keloids and sexual dysfunction.

The mental and psychological agony connected with FGM is deemed the most serious complication because the problem doesn't manifest externally for help to be offered. The young lady is in constant worry of the procedure and after the ritual she dreads sex owing to anticipated pain and dreads giving birth due to complications caused by FGM. Such ladies might not complain but end up changing into frigid and withdrawn leading to matrimonial disharmony.



In Nigeria, FGM is being tackled by World Health Organization, United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Federation of International obstetrics and gynecology (FIGO), African Union, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and many women organizations. Intensification of education of the overall public at all levels has been done with an emphasis on the risks and undesirability of FGM. In 1995, Platform of Action adopted by the Beijing conference demanded the wipeout of FGM through the enactment and enforcement of legislation against its offender. However, there's no federal law prohibiting the practice of FGM in Nigeria. This is the most reason for the slow progress on declining the prevalence of FGM. Despite the attention and awareness created at national and international level, the prevalence of FGM overall has declined very little. The prevalence depends on the extent of education and therefore the geographic location. "female genital mutilation in Nigeria"

At the grassroots level , efforts should be made to join in the crusade to say “NO” to FGM anywhere it is practiced among our people. It is crude, dangerous, wicked and unhealthy. FGM isn't needed by any religion and there's no scientific proof that ladies who are mutilated are more devoted or better wives than people who have not undergone the procedure. It is very clear that there's no single profit derived from FGM.

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There is a need for the termination of this unhealthy practice. A multidisciplinary approach involving legislation, health care professional organizations, empowerment of the ladies in the society, and education of the general public at all levels with emphasis on dangers and undesirability of FGM is paramount.



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