- University of MaiduguriScholarship Holder
Implications of the Sustainability of Female Circumcision Practice among the Shuwa Arab of Borno State, Nigeria
The Shuwa Arabs of Borno State practice Female circumcision as part of their cultural identity which is considered to promote the dignity of the woman and protect her from cultural taboos. However, in the light of international concern on the practice of Female circumcision or female genital mutilation (FGM) as a violation of the right of the girl child and its health implications, the question arises on the sustainability of this practice among the Shuwa Arabs of Northeast Nigeria.
Female circumcision which is the partial or total cutting away of the external female genitalia, has been practiced for centuries in parts of Africa, generally as one element of a rite of passage preparing young girls for womanhood and marriage. Such procedures are performed under unhygienic conditions without anesthetic applications by lay practitioners with little or no knowledge of human anatomy or medicine. Common reasons for Female Circumcision cited by women among the arabs in Africa particularly the Shuwa Arabs are social acceptance, religion, preservation of virginity, marriageability and enhancement of male sexual pleasure. Mockery, loss of respect, and reduced marriage offers are social sanctions against non-circumcised females in Nigerian cultures where Female Circumcision is been practiced.
The Shuwa-Arabs which is the focus of this study is one of the ethnic groups in Borno State located in the north eastern part of Nigeria that are practicing Female Circumcision. They are predominantly found in Kala Balge, Marte, and Jere local government areas of the State but as a result of the insurgency some of them are now displaced and scattered within the capital city of Maiduguri. The researcher therefore intends to view the issue of FGM among the Shuwa-Arabs through the lens of health and human right implications.
The Shuwa Arabs of Borno State practice Female circumcision as part of their cultural identity which is considered to promote the dignity of the woman and protect her from cultural taboos. However, in the light of international concern on the practice of Female circumcision or female genital mutilation (FGM) as a violation of the right of the girl child and its health implications, the question arises on the sustainability of this practice among the Shuwa Arabs of Northeast Nigeria. In view of this, therefore, there is the need to understand the respective pre-marital cultural taboos of the Shuwa-Arabs within the context of their health and human right implications and the sustainability concept. It is against this background that this work seeks to study the culture of Female Circumcision, their sustainability and implications of its practice among the Shuwa-Arabs in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria. The Shuwa Arabs of Borno State practice Female circumcision as part of their cultural identity which is considered to promote the dignity of the woman and protect her from cultural taboos.
In view of the above, the study focuses on finding answers to the following research question:
- What is the culture of female circumcision among the Shuwa Arabs?
- What are the socio-cultural implications of female circumcision on the girl child?
- What is the sustainability prospect of female circumcision practice among the Shuwa Arabs?
- What are the human rights and health implications of female circumcision on the Shuwa-Arab girl child?
The proposed study will be employing qualitative research methodology utilising data collected from primary and secondary sources. The researcher will make use of purposive sampling technique to select the sample size of girls that have been affected by female circumcision in the selected areas.
The primary data shall be obtained through Focused Group Discussion (FGD) and Key Informant Interview (KII) with traditional female circumcisers and other relevant stakeholders in selected communities of Maiduguri where the Shuwa-Arabs are based.
Key Informant Interview (KII) will also be used for the selected girls that have undergone circumcision in the last five years and those that stay for more than ten years. This will allow for comparison of opinions pertaining to their views on the sustainability and implication of this practice. The secondary sources of data on the other hand will utilise available materials and literatures on the subject.
Hajara Mohammed is a Masters scholarship holder at the Centre for the Study and Promotion of Cultural Sustainability, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology, from the University of Maiduguri. With her passion for Anthropological study, she intends to study the most prominent cultural practice among her ethnic group which is the Female Circumcision which leads to a lot of controversies in the global level. She aimed at studying the culture of female circumcision with the idea of finding answers to her research questions on its sustainability, and the human right and health implications of the practice among the Shuwa-Arabs of Borno State, Northeast Nigeria. Her areas of interest is to look at this aspect of the Shuwa-Arab culture; has it been sustained? and why is the practice ongoing. She will also be investigating what type of human right violation and health implication is associated with this kind of practice.