Monday, April 12, 2010

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) - by Wunmi Akinbodunse

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) also known as Female Circumcision (FC) is an African traditional social practice (rite of passage) which is strongly anchored in cultural beliefs. It is performed on the female gender as early as 8 days old, before marriage or after the first pregnancy. It involves the cutting of the female genitals. Myths surrounding the uncircumcised girl / women include – infertility, promotion of promiscuity, itching in the genital, bad omen if the head of a child touches the clitoris during delivery etc.

Based on the health consequences of these acts which include excessive bleeding that can lead to hemorrhage, destruction of blood vessels in the female genital areas, chronic infections, infertility, problem during pregnancy and pains during sexual intercourse.  More Advocacy and sensitisation programs involving local community leaders (gatekeepers) and government policy makers should be done to eradicate FGM. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in a message to mark International Day against FGM on 6th February 2010, three million girls are still at the risk of genital mutilation each year. The UNFPA called for change of perception on the practice and noted that a decline in the number of FGM had been recorded in some communities, which had chosen to make public declarations against the practice, insisting that  FGM 'severely violates the human rights of women and girls'.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jos Crisis - Women & Children, at the receiving end. by Wunmi Akinbodunse

In less than three months in the year 2010, Jos, Plateau State in Nigeria has experienced three major phase of crisis attributed to ethno/religious misunderstanding and intolerance.  The genesis of these crisis took place in the year 2009 with a lot of innocent citizens especially women and children being slaughtered for what they knew nothing about.

The first crisis was unimaginable and uncalled for, so were others. It beats my imagination to see human beings deriving pleasure in slaughtering a fellow human being. The second crisis took place in the early hours of Sunday morning, March 7, 2010 in a small village in the outskirts of Jos, named Dogon Hauwa, where people in the settlement were raided and slaughtered with a count of over 20% of the village’s populace, the larger percentage of the slaughtered were women, children and the elderly. After much mourning, a mass burial was conducted for the slain amidst tears and cries of revenge by the bereaved. The third was similar to the second but not as severe. The attack was on a village in Riom Local Government Area of Jos which also took place in the morning and was perpetuated by fundamentalists camouflaged in the new peace keeping outfits of the soldiers deployed to the area. This opened a brand new chapter in the unrest in Jos. 

Women and children are unfortunately at the receiving end of the crisis from its inception. What can WE (Nigerians , NGOs, CBOs & policy makers)  do to bring the perpetrators to book and accountable to what they have done from these heinous crime to humanity, what can we do to prevent a re-occurrence of the crisis, having in mind the paramount duty of protecting the lives of all especially women and children who appears to be the most affected?