The World Health organisation (@WHO),
defines the term “Female Genital Mutilation” as “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external
female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical
There are 4 Types of
female genital mutilation (FGM)
Type I: partial or total removal
of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (Clitoridectomy).
Subgroups of Type I FGM are: type
Ia, removal of the clitoral hood or prepuce only; type Ib, removal of the
clitoris with the prepuce.
Type II: partial or total removal
of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia
Subgroups of Type II FGM are: type
IIa, removal of the labia minora only; type IIb, partial or total removal of
the clitoris and labia minora; type IIc, partial or total removal of the
clitoris, labia minora and labia majora.
Type III: narrowing of the vaginal
orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia
minora and/or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris
Subgroups of Type III FGM are:
type IIIa, removal and apposition of the labia minora; type IIIb, removal and
apposition of the labia majora.
Reinfibulation is covered under
this definition. This is a procedure to recreate an infibulation, for example
after childbirth when defibulation is necessary.
Type IV: unclassified – all other
harmful procedures to the female genitalia for nonmedical purposes, for
example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.
FGM of any type is a violation of
the human rights of girls and women. FGM is known to be harmful to girls and
women in many ways.
The removal of or damage to
healthy, normal genital tissue interferes with the natural functioning of the
body and causes several immediate and long-term physical, psychological and
FGM is a harmful traditional practice, those who subject their daughters to the
practice include those that are educated, as well as those that are not.
communities, there is a belief that if FGM is not done, the girl will become
promiscuous and will not be able to get married. However, these are just
beliefs and have no scientific backing.
Demographic Health Survey (NDHS 2013) revealed that Five states (Osun, Ebonyi,
Ekiti, Imo and Oyo), have recorded high prevalence rates of FGM with more than
Osun had the
highest FGM prevalence rate in Nigeria, at 77 percent, while Imo State was 68
percent, according to Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2013.
there is a federal law in Nigeria called Violence Against Persons (Prohibition)
(VAPP) Act 2015, which has provisions against FGM.
On 30th March 2017, the Anti-FGM Bill that was enacted by the Imo State House of Assembly of Nigeria, was signed the into Law the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha. The Imo State Anti-FGM Law is divided into nine sections, namely, 1) Citation; 2) Interpretation; 3) Prohibition; 4) Offences and penalties; 5) Consent not defence; 6) Commission of the offence outside the state; Power to arrest without warrant; 8) Information and education; and 9) Repeal/of Section 25 of Law No.6 of 2004. The Long Title of the Imo State Anti-FGM Law is “A Law to prohibit the act of Female Genital Mutilation in Imo State and for other related matters”
We shall not review the
nine sections of the Imo State Anti-FGM Law of 2017
Section 1 of the
Imo State FGM (Prohibition) Law 2017: Citation:
The Imo State Anti-FGM Law shall be cited as the Imo
State Female Genital Mutilation (Prohibition) Law 2017.
Section 2 of the Imo State FGM (Prohibition) Law 2017:
In this law, unless the context otherwise requires:
“adult female” means any female who is up to 18 years of age and
above; “commissioner” means the Commissioner in charge of health
matters in the State: “Female genital mutilation includes
- Clitoridectomy which involves the removal of the
prepuce of the hood of the clitoris itself and the posterior;
- Excision which involves the removal of the clitoris
along with parts of the labia minora or all of it;
- Infibulations otherwise known as “pharonic
circumcision” which involves the removal of the clitoris, the labia minora
and the adjacent media part of the labia majora in their anterior two-thirds, whether
or not the two sides of the vulva are stitched together or merely an openi.ng
of the size of a pin head to allow for the flow of urine and menstrual blood;
- lntrociston, including :’gishiri cuts”;
- “Angurya cut”, that is, scraping or cutting
of the vagina;
piercing or incising of the clitoris or labia, “Stretching of the clitoris
- Cauterization, that is, searing of the clitoris, labia
and vagina with hot iron or caustic, in order to make same insensitive;
- Introduction of corrosive substances and herbs in the
vagina, in order to desensitize it; and
- Other forms of female genital mutilation.
Section 3 of the Imo State FGM (Prohibition) Law 2017:
the commencement of this law, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is prohibited,
any custom or tradition notwithstanding. :
Section 4 of the Imo State FGM (Prohibition) Law 2017: Offences and penalties:
(1) Any person who knowingly separates or surgically
alters the normal healthy functioning genital tissue/organ of a female,
circumcises, pricks, pierces, cuts or infibulates the whole or any part of the
labia majora or minora of a female or performs any other form of Female Genital
Mutilation as described in Section 2 of this Law is guilty of an offence. :
(2) Any adult female who willingly submits herself for
the performance of Female Genital Mutilation as described in Section 2 and
subsection. (1) of this Section is guilty of the offence of the Female Genital
(3) No person shall assault or cause another to suffer
a disability or discrimination on the ground that such a person refused to
undergo the act of Female Genital Mutilation. :
(4) Any person who violates the provisions of
subsections (1) and (2) of this Section shall be deemed to have committed the
offence of Female Genital Mutilation and shall be liable on conviction, to
imprisonment for fourteen (14) years or a fine of two hundred and fifty
thousand naira (N250,000.00) or to both such
term of imprisonment and fine. :
(5) Any person who violates the provisions of
sub-section (3) of this Section is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on
conviction, to imprisonment for three (3) years or a fine of One hundred
thousand naira (N100,000.00) or to both such
term of imprisonment and fine.
(6) Any person who aids and abets the performance of
Female Genital Mutilation is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on
conviction, to imprisonment for seven (7) years or to a fine of one hundred and
fifty thousand naira (N150,000.00) or to both such term of imprisonment and fine.
Section 5 of the Imo State FGM (Prohibition) Law 2017: Consent not
It shall not be a defence to any offence committed
under this Law that the victim consented to have Female Genital Mutilation
performed on her or that the victim’s parents or legal guardians consented to
Section 6 of the Imo State FGM (Prohibition) Law 2017: Commission of the
offence outside the state
Any person who does anything for the purpose of
removing from the State, a person who is ordinarily resident in the State and
performs the act of Female Genital Mutilation on such person is guilty of the
offence of Female Genital Mutilation and shall be liable as provided in Subsection
(1) of Section 4 of this Law.
Section 7 of the Imo State FGM (Prohibition) Law 2017: Power to arrest
Any person who contravenes the provisions of this Law
may be arrested without warrant by any of the Law Enforcement Agencies and may
be charged to court if found culpable after investigation.
Section 8 of the
Imo State FGM (Prohibition) Law 2017: Information and education
(1) Pursuant to the provisions of this Law, the
Commissioner in charge of Health matters in the State in collaboration with (a)
Ministries responsible for Women Affairs/Social Development and Information;
and (b) International Donor Agencies and other NGOs Shall
initiate and carry out educative and preventive out-reach programs in
Communities that traditionally perform Female Genital Mutilation for the
purpose of informing members of those Communities, the health risks and
complications associated with the performance of Female Genital Mutilation as
well as bringing the provisions of this Law to their notice.
(2) The Ministry in charge of Health matters in the
State shall –
- compile a data of victims of Female Genital Mutilation
in the State especially those under the age of eighteen (18) years;…
- ensure that the risks and complications associated
with the practice of Female Genital Mutilation form part of the curricular of
the State owned Medical Schools, Schools of Nursing and other Schools offering
Health related courses in the State.
Section 9 of the Imo State FGM (Prohibition) Law 2017: Repeal/of Section 25 of Law No.6 of 2004
Section 25 of the Child Rights Law No.6 of 2004 is
the stand of the Imo State FGM (Prohibition) Law 2017, we also understand that
this law will be dormant if it is not implemented.
We have made three
recommendations for implementing the Imo State FGM (Prohibition) Law 2017.
There is a need for stakeholders, including the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on
Eliminating FGM: Accelerating Change to disseminate this law to the people of
Imo State as recommended by the law.
There is a need to also train the personnel in the judiciary, Ministry of
Justice and the law enforcement agencies (Police, Nigeria Security and Civil
Defence Corps) on the provisions of the law.
The is a need to advocate to the government of Imo State to make budgetary
provisions and release funds for the execution of the Law, especially section
8, which talks about Information and Education.
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