The United Nation’s Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) with the National Orientation Agency, Imo State (NOA) have raised the alarm over the practice in Ikeduru LGA of the “pressing” form of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which involves rubbing the clitoris with the aid of Vaseline or other ointments.
The Imo State Director of National Orientation Agency, (NOA), Mr. Vitus Ekeocha, stated this on Wednesday, September 12 at IHO DIMEZE, IKEDURU LGA, during a one-day zonal review meeting organized by UNICEF and NOA.
Mr. Ekeocha lamented that the communities affected in the LGA are not even aware that “pressing,” popularly known as “massaging” is also part of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).
He insisted that “pressing” is even more dangerous than “cutting” because constant pressing or rubbing of the clitoris can lead to numbness which may result to total loss of feelings.
The NOA boss revealed that some people practice it secretly especially the women that go for “Omugwo”; The first thing they will slot into their handbags is Vaseline which they intend to use on the girl child.
Mr. Ekeocha then tasked the Ikeduru stakeholders to disseminate this information to every nook and cranny of the communities.
Speaking on the main agenda of the meeting, the Director of NOA, stated that after the last meeting they held last month at the council headquarters, it was agreed that they will reconvene Sept 12 to assess whether the programmes UNICEF has been doing for the past few years in Ikeduru is achieving result to enable them decide if Ikeduru LGA is ripe for public declaration that the 29 communities in the LGA have entirely stopped practicing any type of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.
Mrs. Blessing Azubuike, Child Right Protection Officer of the State Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Welfare advised the focal persons present at the meeting to warn those women who still indulge in clitoris reduction, removal or cutting because of the size of the clitoris to quickly stop it because of its enormous dangers. She advised parents to leave the body of their girl-child “just the way God created it because He alone has his reasons, and every individual is unique in her own way. Just because someone has a bigger head than the average doesn’t mean the person should undergo a reconstructive surgery to reduce it”.
UNICEF consultant for Imo and Ebonyi States, Benjamin Mbakwem in his contribution advised people to always go for a checkup in the hospital if they realized that there is abnormal growth within the female genitals of a girl-child instead of taking actions by themselves. Naturally it is advised to leave the region as it is, but in the case of uncertainty, the doctor should be the one to take the final decision, he said.
The highlights of the day include; summary of the activities that have been carried out in Ikeduru LGA for the past three years such as open dialogue, community mapping, sensitization of women during August meeting, training of community champions, tendering of reports based on action plans from the representatives of the 29 communities in Ikeduru LGA and planning for public declaration ceremony.