Female genital mutilation: Lady forced into asylum seeks return, begs govt for protection

By our reporter

A young lady, named Omotese Ibhade Oaikhena has narrated how genital mutilation as a cultural practice forced her to flee the country and seek refuge in another country. However, after some years abroad, she is home-sick as she wants to come back and get married but is afraid of what awaits her should she return without government intervention.

To this end, she pleads with both the federal government and her home state government, Delta, to come to her aid and protect her and many others who may be suffering same fate.

Speaking to the AUTHORITY, she said she was narrating the story in order to further advocate for the total abolition of the obnoxious practice as well as seeking opportunity to return so as to fulfil her heart desire.

According to her; ‘’Growing up, my mother had informed me of the Female Genital Cutting practices in my family which is meant to preserve the chastity, purification, enhance fertility and increase matrimonial opportunities. I did not have to bother about it because my father was alive and stood like a rock behind me but after his death, the story changed.

“In my community, the target is the first girl, and it is seen as a ritual that must be performed before marriage. It has been a cultural practice passed down from generation to generation aimed at also ensuring that children born to the first girl stay alive. It is customary that before marriage, this practice is carried out and if one manages to escape it, she is required to do it at seven months of pregnancy to have a live child. Whether living in the country or outside the country the first female child must return to have this act carried out.

“I became a victim of torture, threat to life and the practice after my father’s death.  He was a cover before his death as I remember when my relatives come around to talk about the topic, he held his grounds and said I will not undergo such. Whenever I asked him about it, he always told me not to worry but little did I know that during his burial I will be forced to undergo this.

Her father died  on the 7th of July and his burial ceremony was from the 7th to the 9th of November 2018.

She said that “on that fateful Sunday after the thanksgiving service at about 2 to 3pm, I heard a knock on the door of the house we were kept for the mourning exercise. I was lying close to the door so, I got up to check who it was and behold two heavy looking guys were steering me in the face. I asked who they wanted to see, and they responded that I was the one. At this point, I got so scared and called out to my mom for help but before she could come to the door, they had taken me to the house where the practice is carried out. “

“ A mud house with one window that was the only source of light to the room. While they took me to the room, I screamed, struggled to get off their grip but all my effort proved abortive. They laid me down on the floor and the woman in charge who is a relative, came for the ritual. I was scared, a lot was running through my mind. Was I going to bleed to death, contract HIV or even die from the pain? As I struggled hitting the guy who held my hands above my head, he got really upset and used a blunt object to cut my right forearm.

This I guess was to get me weakened and make me succumb. I also sustained severe injuries on my right hand from the constant dragging on the rough mud floor. The guy who held my legs flexed them stabbed me on the lateral side of my knee to get my leg in position. Oh! the pain was severe but now, I was praying, screaming, and begging to be freed. I knew that I could not undergo this. I had been taught in school about this and all the attendant complication. I thought I was going to die. While struggling, I could hear them say even if you are a doctor, we have a culture to uphold. All your cousins who are first females ready to get married have all done this. “

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