Parents and guardians have been urged to desist from circumcising their female children, a practice known as genital mutilation to avoid health hazards inherent in the practice.
The Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Imo State, Mr Vitus Ekeocha, gave the warning at a two-day training organised in Owerri, the capital of the state, in south-east Nigeria, for Community Advocates.
It focused on eradicating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and cutting.
Mr Ekeocha noted that the practice was not only dehumanising but often lead to complications especially during childbirth.
The NOA state director told participants to see themselves as change agents in their communities by sensitising the people on the dangers of female circumcision.
“When you circumcise a girl Child, you are causing health and psychological damage to her. Whether you are cutting or using hand to rub, leave the genital organ of the girl the way God created her. We discovered that most of the women who undergo FGM find it difficult during labour or it may even affect the urethral,” he said.
In an interview some of the participants Mrs Edith Achodo and Mr Chibuzor Ndukwe, vowed to champion the crusade against the practice.
Mrs Achodo said: “I do practice it. I was circumcised and I do teach pregnant women during antenatal talks that they should press it hard so it could go inside, but today with what I have learnt, if I go back to the hospital, I will tell them that it is wrong and that they should stop it”.
On his part, Mr Ndukwe said: “Sometimes they say that it’s tradition, but it is wrong according to what we learnt here today. The practice is evil and when we go back, we will let them know that they should not allow such to happen again because it is not healthy.”
Participants were drawn from 25 communities of Ehime Mbano, Ideato North, Ihitte Uboma, Owerri municipal and Owerri west local government areas.
Female Genital Mutilation also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. The practice is found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
There are several myths that have promoted the practice, including claims that women not circumcised have insatiable desire for sex.