Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
Female students in all the secondary schools in Ebonyi state have joined hands to fight the “barbaric” culture of female genital mutilation by forming social clubs to fight against the act in the state. The renewed effort was sequel to a sensitization programme organized by Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), supported by the Austrian Embassy.
PRAWA, a non-governmental organisation visited Girls Secondary School, Ezzamgbo and Girls Secondary School, Azuiyiokwu to sensitise the students and teachers on the dangers and health implications of the girl-child circumcision.
It was believed that circumcision was mandatory for females to prepare them for marriage; to avoid promiscuous life; for easy delivery; to meet up with the expectation of her age mates; to be obedient to her husband and to avoid ‘stigmatization’ among others.
The Principal of Girls Secondary School Ezzamgbo, Mrs Agatha Egwu said “I was a victim. I was circumcised when I was four years. After that my mother said it was not done well and it has to be done again. I did not know the health implication. They said it was mandatory, that it was for preparing me for womanhood. I know the pains I went through. It was severe,” she said.
Egwu noted that PRAWA’s intervention was apt and urgent considering the facts that some communities in the state were still indulging in the act.
A student of Girls Azuiyiokwu noted “I was circumcised at the age of nine because my parent claimed I was promiscuous.”
Head Security and Justice of PRAWA, Barrister Ogechi Ogu advised the students and community leaders to rise up against the menace as it constitutes enormous health hazards to the victims later in life.
Ogu noted that contrary to the misconceptions of genital mutilation, the use of unsterilized instruments could infect the victim with dreaded diseases like HIV and can lead to Vargina Visco Fistula.
The traditional ruler of Nkaleke-Echara Ndiebor Community, HRH Eze Pius Akam Alo lauded the programme, stating that they completely aligned themselves to ensure the eradication of the practice in the area by spreading the message to all the other community leaders, women and youths.