Two female students of Comprehensive Secondary School, Achacha 1
Community, Igbagu, in Izzi Local Government
Area of Ebonyi State, last week narrated their
ordeal at the hands of village men and women
who had been forcing them to be circumcised by
traditional birth attendants in the area.

One of the victims who is 17 years old, identified
as one Miss Mbam said that over 10 men and
elderly women took her hostage to enable a
traditional birth attendant circumcise her.

According to her, trouble started when her father
informed her that she would be circumcised in a
few days’ time, adding that not long after that, she
was held hostage to enable an unnamed female
health attendant circumcise her.

She spoke with South East Voice during an
Advocacy visit to Achacha 1 Community in Izzi
Local Government Area in the State when a team
of United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF
representatives led by Mrs. Ijeoma Onuoha Ogwe
and Mrs. Adline Idike of the Adline Advocacy for
the Dignity of the Destitute Foundation visited her
community.


“On the
faithful
day, when
I was
asked to
proceed
for the
circumcision and I objected, about 10 men and
women took me hostage, held me bound and
forcefully wanted to carry out the circumcision.
Fortunately for me, I managed to wriggle out from
them and immediately ran to the Pastor of our
church who took me in and haboured me for the
night.

“The next morning and still in a state of
confusion, the Pastor came up with an idea that I
should leave the village and travel to Cross River
State and stay with my elder brother for the
mean time.

“I left the village and went to stay with my elder
brother until I was asked to return to the village
following the quick intervention of UNICEF and
other agencies that were reliably informed of the
incident and they quickly intervened,” she said.
The student who is in JSS 1 insisted that any
further attempt to force her to be circumcised
would make her escape from her home again
adding that before now she had been enlightened
in her school and church on the dangers of
female genital mutilation which prompted her
action.

Similarly, another 18 year old student of
Comprehensive Secondary School Igbagu, who
was simply identified as Miss Nweke and also
hail from Achacha 1 Community also narrated her
own ordeal explaining that she had also run away
from home, resisting the attempt to be forcefully
circumcised.

According to her, she would have been mutilated
at the age of 18 with all the pains and agonies
associated with it, if not for the campaign by
UNICEF and other agencies against the harmful
practice

She urged other young girls in the community to
also resist the attempt as that would save the
community from such harmful traditional
practices.
The father of Miss Mbam and Village Head of
Achara 1 Community, Bernard Mbam confirmed
his daughters story, saying that he had informed
her about the plan to have her circumcised when
she turned 17 adding however, that to his
greatest surprise, his daughter escaped from the
community and ran to Cross River State from
where she was mandated to return home
following the intervention of UNICEF.

Chief Mbam said that with the enlightenment and
advocacy visit of UNICEF to the community, he
would henceforth lead the campaign against
female genital mutilation and commended UNICEF
and other non-governmental organisations for
their efforts.
Meanwhile, there was a mild drama at the
residence of Chief Mbam when three women
including the grandmother of her daughter rained
abuses on her and threatened to carry out the
circumcision should the UNICEF team leave her
behind. The situation forced the founder of Adline
Advocacy for the Dignity of the Destitute to take
the girl into protective custody.

In an interaction with South East Voice, the
Founder of the advocacy group, Mrs. Idike said
that she decided not to allow the girl stay back in
the village as the women were prepared to take
laws into their hands by mutilating the girl’s
genitals and face the consequences.
She stated that with the girl out from the village,
she had saved her from the agony of being
mutilated, stressing that her group would intensify
the campaign in Achacha 1 Community and other
villages in Izzi where the practice was still
prevalent.

The issue of circumcision has been an age long
tradition in the community irrespective of the
challenges and agony women faced during and
after the mutilation of their private parts.


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