Yoruba Tribal Marks

Juju Films

As a child I was fascinated with tribal marks, something about it appealed to me, maybe both my parents having tribal marks was part of the fascination.

There are a couple of narratives around the origin of tribal marks in Yoruba land. One narrative is how Sango started the practice using marks to reward or discipline his slaves, eventually realizing how beautiful it was favored the practice. Tribal marks were also used for identifying origins of slaves during the slave trade, not unlike the branding of cattle.
When I was about 14 years old, I told my mother I wanted tribal marks, this thought was triggered due in part to the events in my community. I wanted something that could make me easily identifiable in case of pending ethnic crisis. My mother understood my thinking and her way of getting me informed was to have me witness an Akomola (informal…

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Examination Malpractices, who gets fined? – Students, teachers or both?

Folakemi

Nigeria House of Representatives has just passed a bill that will allow stricter fine against students found to be cheating during WAEC (West African Examination Council). Fine of ₦200k, an increment from the current ₦2k or they could be sent to 5 years in jail or both. Here

To reduce exam malpractices in Nigeria, we need to trace back to the source of the problem. Focus energies and resources into charging and convicting teachers from primary school teachers to university professors. It was the teachers who made it acceptable for students to cheat in the first place. They set unrealistic expectations so that the only people who could pass would be the one that bribed their way through. The expectations were never backed up with adequate studying materials, lectures and libraries in schools have all closed up.

The origin of all exam malpractices in Nigeria did not start yesterday, it has a long…

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Nigeria – Mental health disorder or witches’ spell?

Folakemi

Like many Nigerians, I grew up seeing quite a few people wandering the streets, talking to themselves without directing the conversation to anyone in particular. Sometimes, a fit of laughter – the type that suggests a satisfying end to a happy conversation with an acquaintance, you still can’t see anyone in the near vicinity that these people are conversing with. We say they are Were (mental health patients – not a positive tone).

I hear different of stories suggesting the cause of the illness. As mental health disorder differs and sometimes may not surface until one is in teenage years so it allows people to make up different reasons for the illness.

Recently on my road trip to Ekiti, southwest Nigeria,  sat by the road side was a young lady probably in her early 20s picking up rubbish from the dump, looked very unkempt. My friend who has kindly drove…

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Children helping in cocoa farms is NOT child labour

Folakemi

A recent BBC News article by Elizabeth Ohene from Ghana on cocoa farmers and the fact that big chocolate companies were insisting the farmers stop using children on their farms is one to ponder on. It is fascinating that people tend to beat around the bush on matter of child labour, why would a child be asked to do jobs meant for adults?

I am not the one to blame big chocolate companies for all that is not right with cocoa harvesting/production practices in Nigeria. Cocoa companies will continue to exploit as long as the host countries show no care for their own citizens. However, if chocolate companies such as Nestle, Hershey’s etc feel bad for the situation of child labour and also the fact that most of the farmers could barely make ends meet despite working all year round on the farm. These companies know too well that handouts of…

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STI – Jungle Fever and the danger of trusting White Expats in Nigeria

If you have an Oyinbo (Caucasian) friends or colleagues working anywhere in developing world and in this case Africa you are likely to see my points here.

For a taxi/molue drivers: Obalende or FESTAC.

For Oyinbos, rich Nigerians or young male breaking into the new world married or not: Pats Bar or Why Not in Victoria Island, or The Palm in Lekki present plenty of good-looking women looking to supplement their day job with extra income.

None of these were hidden.

Adults can do whatever they so pleased with their bodies when making sure they are not danger to people around – I do think people involved in this “trade” should be well informed on how best to protect themselves against infectious diseases, the benefits is not just for themselves but for other innocent people who through no fault of their own might get caught up in the mess.

Noticing a plaster on a friend’s inner elbow I asked what the plaster was for –  he just had a blood test. So I ask, why the blood test as worried if he was ill. His response was slow to come and because he had no reason to lie “I fell off the horse” he said. Well, as we all do everyday, abi? He didn’t think it was funny because he had a week or so to wait for the result, he was worried sick that he might have contacted HIV/AIDS in his last trip to Benin/Nigeria. He had a dream the night before that he was going to die so when he woke up he realises that he was still alive and decided to think about things that could kill him in real life then he remembered his trip to Benin where he went out in the evening to a club and had unprotected sex in a country where AIDS/HIV is as real as night and day.

For a minute, I struggled to see who gets my sympathy – Jonathan, who knows better and should have acted accordingly or the ignorant Benin lady who, am told had a condom with her and wanted to use it but the Oyinbo guy was too much “in the zone” to be bothered so Christiane ignored her instinct of “safety first” and followed Jonathan’s lead because that comes with extra juicy tips. The problem here with Christiane was that she trusted that Jonathan being Oyinbo acted sensibly at all times – she was wrong. One, because Jonathan has a wife and four children in Paris, the wife that trusted her husband would never do anything that might endanger their lives, – how wrong? Two, Jon’s wife perhaps understands the lifestyle of some expats in developing countries but she is likely to trust her husband to at least use proper protection.

Where do Nigeria prostitute “joints” come in to this. Jon works for a Lagos based company, he was only in Benin for a couple of days – if you visit a new country usually one wants to see the town and all that is peculiar there,  I guess for Jon “sampling” Benin women was his tourist attraction. Over the years, I have heard a lot about prostitution in Lagos, I usually pay a bit more attention to the expats stories, when in company of friends with no judgemental hat on – they are brutally honest and you can see how desperation to wear the latest designer outfits has pushed our sisters into oblivion. And by the way,  the common excuse – they are all students and must work to pay for fees. Really? You have to have Louis Vuitton matching bag/shoes to study?

Jon’s result came out negative. I was happy for him. I am still sad that ignorance is one key problem eating us alive in Nigeria and Africa.

Here: If Christiane had tested positive, she is unlikely to survive, actually she would have spread it to enough people both Oyinbos and local men before she will stop the trade. She is likely to die shortly after for lack of access to antiretroviral drugs.

If Jon was tested positive, he has higher chance of surviving the ordeal because his government would provide the supports in terms of antiretroviral drugs and emotional needs. He is unlikely to be stigmatised.

If you were going to sell your bodies, you owe yourself and the society to do it sensibly.

Rich Nigeria parents – resolving conflict with adult children

“…It reminds me that it’s not so bad, It’s not so bad”

“…And I want to thank you
For giving me the best day of my life” Dido

That’s not too bad I thought to myself, time to count my blessings and show a bit of appreciation to the universe I suppose.

I would not have thought of how pleasant my upbringing was if Kola didn’t assume his rich Nigeria parents are harder to make mends with their adult children because of their socio-economic status. That to me is unbelievable. I have always thought parents are parents and should love their children no matter what.

How do we resolve conflicts with our parents as adults especially when parents were in the wrong? It was a very good friend of mine. His parents were the perfect parents anyone could wish for. They are different from typical Nigerian rich parents, who sometimes can be overbearing. They are well read and have travelled the globe. They are the type you want to get stuck with in an elevator for hours, they let you have a say and share from their wealth of knowledge easily. In fact I have been stuck in a car with them from Lagos to Ife on one occasion, we were in traffic for nine hours travelling to Ife via Ore road. It was a raining day, and the number of petrol tankers were far more than cars so one thing led to another, we were stuck, not a big deal – Nigeria roads.

Throughout this time, I was amazed by how accommodating my friend’s parents were. We were not short of conversational ideas – not for one second. From Fela Kuti to Yoruba people in Brazil and to how to take advantage of iTunes cloud.

Kola is a good child, raised well and loved his parents, his parents do not see this half the time. Kola and I get close because of his family drama. He’ll rant about his rich parents and I will do the same about my not-so-rich ones – no need for therapy fees here. Kola is one of four siblings and the first and only male child. He is humbled and posses the dignity rarely found with children of rich parents in Nigeria. He set up his business right after graduating in early 1980s and still at it today.

Where has it all gone wrong that Kola’s parents refused to forgive him? Kola married a girl not approved by the parents – that was his sin.

After about a gazillion times that Kola has narrated the same story to me, I still do not get it and honestly I don’t get why parents will not see their own grandchildren for 15 whole years just because their mother did not fit into the box of socially acceptable lady suited for their family.

The short version of the story according to Kola was that there was a girl next door to his childhood home. The parents were friends and because they all belonged to the same social economic circle, they wanted Kola and Bimbo to marry. So they dated for a while in high school. Kola was a bit tired of the relationship toward the end of his university program, broke up with Bimbo on the ground that she likes to “show off” way too much for Kola’s liking. Bimbo took it very badly, and there was the beginning of drama that will last for almost two decades.

By now there are five children – Kola  went through lots of rough times trying to get his parents to love him again and to respect his decision while he maintains a happy home with his wife and children, it was tough. Kola is now 49 years old, the trouble started when he was thirty-two.

Two years ago, Kola and I were chatting yet again about what he could do next to appease his parents. Mrs Kola by now did not want anything to do with the in-laws who have never see anything good in her. So I said to Kola how grateful I was to have  parents like mine, who would never be angry with us for too long whatever the case. They haven’t travelled the world, and in completely different socio-economic class from Kola’s. Their love is felt everyday and even when I did not do exactly what they wanted, conflicts are settled within days – enough to give each party a chance to make amends with dignity. My father usually would not apologise but he has his many ways of saying “Sorry, I was wrong” without the words.

Adeolas are in the late sixties and last year for the first time in seventeen years, had Kola and his family over for a few days in their Lagos home. I was happy for Kola when he called to share the news, he was genuinely happy. This summer, he dropped his children there for a few days on their own to spend time with the grandparents – children were happy but wanted to come home after two days to their parents.  This is where I think our Nigeria parents get it all wrong, it is never all about money. If you take a little child from my village right into US White House, she will love all the neatly arranged photos on the wall and the spotless well polished floor, however, after sometime, she wants to connect to someone in the language that she understood – belongingness. Give it time, they’d get used to the grandparents, and in time will learn to relax enough hopefully, stories of the past will emerge, I told Kola.

Kola’s story reminds me to be grateful to my parents because really, it has not been bad, not at all  – Thank you Moomi and Daddy for your giving me your love even when I did not do everything the way you would have preferred.

Esther Oyeleke: What would happen to her teacher?

Folakemi

“Corporal punishment is any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light.” Wiki

And when most parents in the west get upset for the mere mentioning of corporal punishment in schools and fought tooth and nail for their kids not to be punished this way no matter what, because it is just not right to encourage violence in schools as the end result is never any good. When this happens, most Nigerian teachers just could not get it. ‘How do children learn if you don’t beat them?’ They’d say. In Nigeria most teachers think we needed to be flogged, beating like a loveless animal before we could learn. ‘That’s how I was raised, they’d boasted.’ That’s right, of course you were raised that way, which only explains your inability to manage your frustrations now as adult.

I have never…

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Saving Nigeria – Share the truth about health condition to raise awareness

Folakemi

Experience, they say is the best teacher. All of our experiences play significant roles in the way we make sense of our world. I grew up believing lots of myths as they float around me, I was not alone, millions of Nigerians were in the same situation. We were told to never question our adults as they know best, we were cautioned at a slight mischief and made to promise we would never be mischievous again. Many a times our adults succeeded in suppressing the natural instincts that we were all born with, the ones that push us to do the forbidding, not because we wanted to be bad but just because our curious mindset were alert, we wanted to see how things would turn out if we did a given task differently from the norm. However, sometimes the exaggerated stories of our myths were too powerful that we indeed…

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Vesico Vaginal Fistula and high divorce rate in northern Nigeria

ImageDuring the just concluded Nigeria National Conference (Confab) one issue that was raised was the motion against high divorce rate in the north of Nigeria.

What we know:

– As it stands today  80% of marriage ceremonies in Kano end up in divorce and it is common to see a 40-year-old man who has gone through  six divorces or even more. Domestic violence in the north is reportedly above national average.

– Men can legally divorce their wives regardless of how many children in previous relationships. No enforcement of welfare support for the children left behind.

– As at 2012, 800,000 women divorcees registered for NGO advocating for better treatment for divorced women also pleaded for government intervention as their husband were very quick to walk away from marriage with simple disagreements that can be easily solved.

What we know but shy away from discussing:

– As at 2009, studies conducted in Kano and Kaduna showed 200,000 women are living with RVF and VVF – limited health care to help with both emotional and medical treatment. This condition can be corrected with surgery. The number is significantly higher than the rest of the country combined.

Vesico Vagina Fistula (VVF) – “Vesico vaginal Fistula, or VVF, is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder (or vesico) and the vagina that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault.” Wiki.

A condition associated with childbirth caused by prolonged labour.

Rectovaginal fistula  (RVF)” is a medical condition where there is a fistula or abnormal connection between the rectum and the vagina.” Wiki.

Culturally, polygamous is common in Nigeria across all faiths more so for Islamic faith and traditionalists, a bit lower rate for christians. Not all muslims in the south have multiple wives, in fact most in my village only have one wife and for those that enjoy “varieties” rather than divorcing because of trivial issues, they just move along to marry second, third or forth wife – life is a bliss!

So why do we have high rate of divorce in the north despite the perks of multiple wives that is socially and religiously acceptable? Many argue that it is because of the high rate of divorce that led many young male adults to join Boko Haram insurgency as they were already on the streets – the sense of belonging to a group gives them much-needed excitement about life purpose.

What we know but not talking about and why divorce rate in the north will continue until we find solutions to the fundamental factors leading men to walk away form their marriage.

Islamic religion allows men to marry girls as young as 7 years old, although this age is frowned upon but many still do it. Men are not supposed to consummate the marriage until the girl reaches puberty (10 -11) but the new husband (can be 4times bride’s age) is in full control of what he does to the girl from the day her family agreed to give away the child. A friend who has travelled extensively in the north said the emphasis is on keeping the girls hymen intact until puberty, according to him many do have anal sex with little girls – (irony of Nigeria homosexuality law)

The most popular case of child-bride was Nigeria Senator Yarima who defended his marriage to a 13 years old girl using a passage in the Nigeria Constitution – We yelled, tweeted –  he is still married to the girl and nothing happened. Senator Yarima was 50 years old and the child-bride 13 at the time of marriage in 2010.

When married off early, by the time a child reaches 12 or 13 she is ready to have her first child. According to studies, VVF occurs during the birth of first child. There is a direct correlation between VVF, RVF and high rate of divorce in the north.

I can not begin to imagine the self-loathing this has caused women in this situation. Divorce in itself is enough heart-breaking, dealing with intimidation of being rejected because of VVF and RVF is a whole other story especially when it is coming for the person who contributed to the problem.

In a way, I can see northern men points though, if you were young and sexually active, who really wants to be with a wife/partner whose body you find revolting? Maybe the right law to enforce should be No Child Bride rather than attacking the symptoms – divorce rate.

 

Thought farts of Nigeria social media

Social media has been incredibly useful tool in disseminating information in recent years especially in the case of Nigeria where useful information is scarce. This development has enabled lots of people who normally would not be involved in events around the country to now participate in the discussions of issues that affect their lives and in turn we have seen significant increase in the number of youths involved in social activism for the common good –  grateful for the freedom of information and the invention of social media.

Now here is the tricky part – lots of Nigeria youths now have smart phones so they are on all kinds of apps connecting to friends and like-minded people both within and outside of the country with a few clicks. Maybe this is time to remind ourselves about the importance of being responsible especially in the way that we share information on very sensitive and important matters.

On Ebola virus – a couple of friends the other week decided to play a prank on people by sending messages that shower with salty water would prevent people from getting Ebola virus. One of the girls went ahead and sent instant message via BBM to her contacts. Within hours the false claim went viral like wildfire and annoyingly some local radio stations aired the information as if the claim was true.

It is very easy to assume no one would believe this sort of advice but the reality was many people did. On Saturday the 9th, a few hours after the prank broke I spoke to my dad to chat and by off chance asked if he heard about the false claim of salt shower – he did on the radio but didn’t think the claim was true. My mother always had evening shower so I asked her, she cheerily replied, “of course I just had a salt shower! better to be safe, abi?” I asked why she would do that knowing fully well she is on no-salt diet. She answered “the radio says so.” Oh, well that was a very bad joke that some irresponsible girls played on each other to see how gullible Nigerians were and not an official information from the health authority. My mother who is in her late seventies wondered why the radio station would announce such unverified claim. Thank goodness, the prank wasn’t that people should drink 100g of salt with water – could be worse. Maybe mother should have cross-checked the news.

With power of social media, comes responsibility. Time for Nigeria youths to read information received before forwarding/retweet? You will be doing less tweets/whatsapp/Facebook etc per day but at least information passed on to the masses will be for social good – that should be the best way of making use of social media.

I encountered another Nigeria social activist the other day who thinks the scare of Ebola virus in Nigeria has been taken out of proportion. Her thinking was that there are so many other contagious diseases floating around us for decades and we have not been wiped out yet using HIV/AIDS as an example. I was a bit concerned about this activist because she has 2,854 Facebook likes – with social media thought farts, lots of damage can be done here if her followers took her too seriously.

The difference between Ebola and HIV/AIDS in simpler term is that Ebola kills in a matter of weeks from the date of infection while HIV/AIDS kills slowly given plenty of time for the patients to get help and hope to live a bit longer, patients have low mortality rate with access to antiretroviral drugs while Ebola has 90% mortality rate for those infected – both contagious but more so for Ebola.

In Nigeria we do not take anything seriously until it gets out of hand. A couple of months ago, President Jonathan made confession that his administration has been handling Boko Haram insurgency with kid gloves two weeks later, #BringBackOurGirls occurred, lots of other killings have been going on before and after that incidence and only yesterday or so were 100 boys kidnapped.

While government in all arms seem to be taking Ebola seriously now by setting up emergence clinics in every state which is a fantastic news. I do know that even if we took the cue from February when the first case broke out in Guinea, it still wouldn’t be out of proportion because we would have prevented needless deaths.

Social media has been fantastic but now we really do need to be responsible users too and at least read the text before passing it along.

I spotted “Thought Farts” from reading Opinionated Man  post on the use of twitter, I immediately knew where the phrase best suited!

GEJ best move ever – Resident doctors suspension when is ASUU’s turn?

If all Nigerians did not attend the National Conference – Nigerian doctors too, must have delegates to iron out their grievances with the Nigeria Minister of Health therefore doctor’s indefinite strike is inhumane and they rightly deserved to be suspended.

President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to suspend Residency Training Programme for Doctors in Nigeria is one of the best moves he has made up to date.

IMG-20140814-WA0000Let me be clear, there is a lot that I wish could be better with the present administration especially the way that Boko Haram case is being handled is heart breaking considering the number of needless waste of innocent lives and of course that ongoing call to #BringBackOurGirls make it all the more difficult to understand what our leaders are doing.

The move to suspend resident doctors is not just about the doctors alone, it is about what the suspension represents to the ever dwindling professionalism of all Nigeria professionals in the way they resolve conflicts.

Nigeria, for the best part of twenty years has seen a huge decline in quality of our medical health system. We all blame the government for the mess. Maybe rightly so, but don’t everyone has responsibility? Nigeria doctors’ strike this time started July 1st because of some issues around titles and a whole other debates around consultants entitlements that needed to be ironed out with federal government. As always, the language used was that the doctors were going on “indefinite” strike until their demands were met. They do this all the time. Ebola news started making rounds in February this year, the doctors were well aware of this and the fact that we are close neighbour with the countries affected was not enough to bring NMA to reason. Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian entered Nigeria July 20 and died three days later of Ebola infection – still that was not enough for the doctors to call off their strike. Where is the humanity in doctors’ strike action? Didn’t they swear oaths to save lives? 

The only victims here are the people whose lives were at stake in our public hospitals. GEJ and his family fly abroad on Health Tourism to take care of their health issues. How hard was it to call off the strike so as to safe lives first and perhaps have delegates to continue dialogue with the government?

Why does it take everyone to go on strike and indefinite one at that to have a dialogue with the government? And the most annoying  part was that after agreement has been reached, there will be a few more weeks whereby the same body will embark on yet another word-fight on their salary during the strike – not unusual to go back on strike just so they could be paid for when they were on initial strike actions – it is a vicious cycle – must end.

Nigeria Medical Association is not alone is using strike actions as the only way to demand results from the government.

Nigeria Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is notorious for this. ASUU and the Nigeria government are responsible for the state that the country education is today – mess.  For the last fifteen years, Nigeria universities have not been in school for a whole session without the need to close up the school. If it wasn’t the lecturers demanding for more pay/resources, it will be students protesting for all manner of causes, the end result – strike. We need to find better way to resolve conflicts without making everyone in the society pay for the “sins” they did not commit. This year, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) students have been home for more than two months because students protested the new fee hike. Last year, the same university and other federal universities in the country was closed for six months because ASUU wanted pay increase.

In the short term the losers were the students but in the long run, the whole society loses as we have graduates who are not well equipped for the job market.

Can GEJ please sack the lecturers too next time they embark on strike? I am sure it is any minute from now – it’s the only pastime that they know how to.

Doctors are already home and do this a lot needless to think GEJ suspension of resident doctors will affect Ebola epidemic – If the doctors genuinely cared, then they need to show it to the people by doing their job and assigning delegates to sort out their issues with appropriate authority.

If GEJ suspended/sacked ASUU – wouldn’t  be the end of the world as education sector can not possibly be any worse than it is now.

Now, maybe it is time for everyone to break the silence and demand GEJ to live up to the post that he is in. The system is already broken, it will require everyone to play their parts.

In this instance, it is hypocrisy blaming GEJ.

Girls circumcision in Nigeria – Who are the 10 – 25%?

There has being a huge drive in many UK African communities in recent years, putting shame aside and telling their stories of the scars left on them by female genital mutilation (FGM). The pains were real and memories raw for all of the women especially those who went through the extreme form of FGM. Good news is that while we Africans live in denial and didn’t see what the fuss was, UK government got involved and fully support the campaign. From next month, University College London is opening a clinic to provide both Psychological and medical treatments for the FGM victims.

_76432219_female_mutilation_20142207_464

Afusat Saliu, a Nigerian seeking asylum after her visitor’s visa expired begged not to be deported from the UK on the basis that she feared her two daughters will be forced to undergo FGM in Nigeria. She lost her case and was deported in June this year.

Many online commentators especially Nigerians were not empathetic towards Afusat, saying her fear was unfounded that no one in Nigeria goes through extreme form of FGM. They said this out of ignorance.

As a Yoruba, I learnt from my mother that the type of circumcision in my region was type 1 supposedly the mild form of FGM – that does not make it any sensible in any sense. She described it as an incision on the clitoris deep enough to shed blood – the reasoning behind this was as barbaric as the act itself. My part of the Yoruba do not remove the clitoris and I still do not know what the point was.

That was my knowledge of Yoruba circumcision until…

I lived at Garage Olode, a small town in Osun State – only about 20miles from my hometown. My landlord had three wives and many children. Tanwa (11) and Ganiyat (10) were the youngest of the family from two mothers. Both girls were charming, Tanwa especially was always full of excitements, always had lots to tell. She was the only child of her mother hence the name Tanwa (Omotanwa meaning the child we have been searching for).

One day, Tanwa knocked on my door in the early hour of the morning, opening the door for her, with terrifying look on her face, she ran passed me to the floor where Kemi laid, she was sobbing – Tanwa and Ganiyat were to be cut in the next 4 hours.

The mothers were not supposed to tell their girls but Tanwa’s mother knowing what she went through before having her could not keep the secret. She narrated the whole gory story to Tanwa, Tanwa was scared, had nowhere to go, she ran to my friend and I thinking we might be able to save her – we did not.

The old lady in her sixties was the assigned “torturer” of the young girls. Needless to say, hygiene was the last on the list. The tools – blades and a couple of small knives were wrapped in a dirt soaked ankara print. Tanwa was held down by four people among of which was one of her teenage half brothers (talk about incest), and three female members of the family. Some black concoction was rubbed on Tanwa’s private part but whatever that was did nothing to subdue the pain. A second later, Tanwa let out the loudest sound ever, she felt every inch of the cut – it was not a normal cry, it was shrieking sound that suggest she hated everyone and everything around her. Her clitoral hood was removed, I saw the woman held it tight between her callous thumb and index fingers, it was bloody. Kemi and I looked on in disgust but felt powerless. The whole exercise took place in the open backyard a few steps away from the bush where everyone used as toilet.

Tanwa healed quickly in a matter of days, but for the next three months that I was in the house I noticed she had lost something – a bit of herself. She was timid and less of a chatter girl she once was. Alhaji thought her timidness was a sign that she has become a woman – seemed like emotional scar to me.

Tanwa’s family were originally from Iwo – a town in Osun state well known for the Arabic/Islamic education. Is the teenage girl circumcision peculiar to people from Iwo town? Or just the majority Muslim in town? Why is the practice different from the rest of Yoruba?

Whatever the answer was, we can only help the voiceless by shedding lights about the potential danger of this needless and harmful tradition.

Afusat Saliu’s fear is valid and Nigeria need many more people like her to tell their stories, not for the purpose of getting abode in a foreign land but to serve as pointers to where girls circumcision is still rife within the country.

Attitude towards FGM has changed in the last 20 years however, we we are not there yet as the practice is going on in small towns and villages in significant numbers.

Here is another article I wrote about recent circumcision gone wrong in my hometown.