Mrs. Olajide with her two daughters before the circumcision crisis started.

For protecting her daughters from the outlawed tradition of circumcision, Felix Oloyede writes on the mental torture, physical abuse and abduction which recently happened in Akute area of Ogun State:

Mr. and Mrs. Olajide’s family (first name withheld) have had all going well for them until recently when there was a twist of events as they had to face the battle of their lives to protect their two daughters against the tradition of circumcision.

Trouble started when the Olajides attempted to prevent their daughters from being subjected to the outlawed tradition of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by their relatives. This has resulted in they being subjected to torture: from mental and physical abuse to attempted abduction by their relatives, who have vowed to ensure their two daughters go through the circumcizer’s knife.

Despite the campaign against FGM, because of the dangers it poses to the victims, the tradition of female circumcision still thrives among many tribes in Nigeria. Even though civilization has led to the abolition many African traditions that are inimical human development, FGM has defy civilization.

Many young girls have had to ensure severe pains during and after circumcision, because most times no anaesthesia was given to victims before they were made to go through the circumciser’s knife. Some have died in the process due to the resultant excessive bleeding, while others have contacted incurable diseases such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government outlawed FGM in 2015, after the National Assembly passed a bill criminalising female circumcision and President Muhammedu Buhari in June 3 of that year signed it into law. But this has not any way stopped the FGM as the practice still holds sway in many communities across the country. This is traceable to lack of enforcement of the against FGM.

In the beginning

Going down memory lane narrating on what led to their ordeal, Mrs Olajide said, “I got married to a man from a tribe in Ifaki Ekiti, Ekiti State that believes in female circumcision. When I got married to my husband, my mother-in-law told me that once I give birth to a girl that she must be circumcised. I thought it was a joke.

“I even told her that this practice was out of fashion, but she insisted that it was their tradition not to circumcise their daughters. As fate would have it, I had two girls.

“For a long time, nobody brought it up until recently when I gave birth to my second daughter. My mother-in-law called me that it was time to circumcise my children, who are now 12 and three years old. She came to my place in Akute to forcefully take the children away, which I resisted. She claimed if the circumcision wasn’t done, the community leaders of Ifaki would come after her, but I didn’t budge.

“She then involved one of my husband’s uncles, Chief Kolawole Oguntoyinbo, who is very influential. They traveled down to Akute where I live with some community elders. He vowed to deal with me because I was proving stubborn.”

Mrs. Olajiide further explained that things went downhill when my husband came back from work adding that they almost killed him because he resisted against the circumcision of his two daughters. “While we were struggling for my daughters, they injured both of us and my husband had to run away. Thank God I was also able to escape with the children with the help of the sympathisers. At that point, I reported the matter to the police station, but the police said it is a traditional issue, so we need to solve it out with them. I even told them that they wanted to kill me and my husband but they did not do anything, because the team leader, Oguntoyinbo who led them to our house knew his way around.

“The police refused to give me any protection. But I refused to allow my daughter to be circumcised, because I was afraid for the health, for the knives used aren’t even sterilised.”

She noted that when all attempts to get them to give up on their kids failed, they resolved to abduct her and her husband. They had to abandon their home and escape with their children. She said she ran her family house, while her husband said he was going to take refuge with a friend. But since then, she has not set her eyes him and all efforts to reach him have been abortive

A plea for help

In her plea for help, Mrs. Olajide called on the government, civil and human right organisations to look into the nefarious practice of female circumcision and back it up with enforcement. She also called on human right bodies to come to her aid in searching for her husband and save her daughters from their father’s people, alleging that the police have thus far treated the case.

However, the police have denied that they have not acted on the issue, claiming that they only advised the family to resolve their differences amicably.