February 23, 2012

Girl, 17 flees home over forced circumcision

Yenagoa – 17-year-old girl, Miss Patricia Youmgbo, has been declared missing by family members after she reportedly fled home to avoid circumcision.

It was learnt that the girl’s decision to run away from home followed the death of her younger sister, Joy after she was forced to undergo circumcision on Jan. 15.

An uncle to the missing girl, Mr Jonah Youmgbo, said that Patricia had fled the family home in Amassoma, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa since Feb. 14.

Youmgbo said that the two sisters, who lived in Lagos, had came home in December 2012 to spend the Christmas with their grandmother in Amassoma.

He said that the girls’ grandmother and some extended family members had ordered the girls to be circumcised before returning to Lagos.

The decision of the family led to the forced circumcision of Joy, a development that triggered the excessive bleeding that eventually led to her death.

Youmgbo, who lamented the death of the teenager, said that Joy, who was full of life before the forced circumcision, died from injuries as a result of the crude traditional practice of female genital mutilation.

He explained that the victim, suffered severe excruciating pains for days after the mutilation of her genital before her death.

Youmgbo said that medical reports obtained after the death of Joy, showed that the 15-year-old died of “Post Circumcision haemorrhage”.

It was the fear of falling victim of the same circumcision that made the elder sister, Patricia to flee the community since Feb. 14.

Youmgbo, who is a brother to the girls’ father, said  that a case of missing person had since been reported at the Amassoma Divisional Police headquarters.

He used the opportunity to call on Nigerians and Ijaw people in particular to desist from the “obnoxious” tradition of female genital mutilation.

When contacted, the Bayelsa Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Eguavoen Emokpai, (ASP), who expressed shock at the development, however, said he had not received any report on the incident.

Emokpai said he had been unable to reach the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the Amassoma Police Division for confirmation due to poor telephone network.

WHO, an organisation that had been in the forefront of global campaign to stop the female genital mutilation, had described the act as procedures that involve the partial or total mutilation of the external female genitalia.

The practice has been described globally as illegal and an infringement on the rights of women and should, therefore, be rejected in its entirety. (NAN)