CIRCUMCISION AND THE LAW




INTRODUCTION

The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary[1] defines the verb, ‘Circumcise’ in these words: ‘To remove the foreskin of a boy or man for religious or medical reasons; to cut off part of the sex organ of a girl or woman.’ The wikipedia [2]  tells us that the word “Circumcision” comes from the Latin word, (Circum) meaning “around” and (Caedere) meaning “to cut”. ’ It further defines Circumcision as, ‘the removal of some or the entire foreskin from the penis.’ [3] Circumcision is as old as human history; a lot of evidence buttresses this assertion. Circumcision is mentioned in the earliest book of the Holy Bible, Genesis[4] as follows;

                                 ‘this is my covenant which ye shall keep, between me and you and                                  thy seed after thee; every man Child among you shall be                                   circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and                                   it shall be a token of the covenant between me and you. And he that                                   is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in                                   your generations, he that is born in the house or bought with money                                   of any stranger which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house                                   and he that is bought with thy money, must need be Circumcised:                                   and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.                                  And the uncircumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he                                   hath broken my covenant.’

In Islam, males are also circumcised. Wikipedia [5] however informs that;
                                ‘the origin of the requirement of circumcision in Islam is a matter                                  of religious and scholarly debate. It is mentioned in some parts of                                  the Hadiths, but not in the Quran. Fiqh scholars have different                                  opinions about circumcision in Sharia depending on which Hadiths                                  are accepted. According to some, it is a recommended practice                                  (Sunnah), according to others, it is obligatory.’
Moreover, there are some who interpret verses in the Qur’an to imply that the requirement of circumcision is based on the covenant with Allah.’ As mentioned earlier, Muslims circumcise their male children; however the timing varies in contradistinction to the Christian position. The Islamic scholar Al- Munajjid Muhammed Salih[6] writes: ‘the timing of Muslim circumcision varies. Some Muslim communities perform circumcision on the eight day of life, as with Jews, others, earlier or later.’
   The Jews Practice Circumcision of males also, their religious book, the Torah commands it, and reproduces Genesis 17: 10 -14 quoted above as the basis for doing it. They call it the Britmilah – (Covenant of circumcision). It is so important that should the eighth day fall on Shabbat (Sabbath), actions that would normally be forbidden because of the sanctity of the day are permitted in order to fulfill the requirement to circumcise. The Wikipedia further asserts: ‘Turkish, Balkan, rural Egyptians and central Asian Muslims typically circumcise Boys Between the ages of six and eleven and the event is viewed communally as a joyous occasion and is celebrated with sweets and feasting. This feast is called Sunnet Dugunu and considered a very important celebration in a man’s life as a passage of a man from childhood in Turkey.[7]
  Some Religious groups however do not practice male circumcision. Sikhism and Hinduism readily come to the mind. It has been opined that; ‘Circumcision holds no relevance to a Sikh. All rituals which do not hold relevance are strictly forbidden.’[8] For Sikhs, ‘acceptance of Nature’s beautiful body is an important component of the Sikh value system.’[9] There is no specific reference to male circumcision in the Hindu holy books and Hindu’s in lndia generally do not practice circumcision.
  
From the above, it is so clear that male Circumcision is looked at as a divine command, particularly for the adherents of the Christian, Islamic & Jewish faith who see it as what God commands. One wonders what the practice now being performed on females is based on. A closer look at the Biblical passage quoted above shows that the emphasis is on the pronoun
‘HE,’ and there is a specific reference to the words ‘Man child.’ God prescribes it for men and men only. The arguments below can be canvassed in support of male circumcision.                                                              

RELIGIOUS GROUNDS:
Genesis 17; 10 -14 quoted earlier, provides for male circumcision. Joshua chapter 5, verse 3 reads:[10] ‘And Joshua made him sharp knives and circumcised the Children of Israel at the hill of the foreskin.’ Of course children mentioned here refers to males, because if you read verse 4 of the same chapter, it says, ‘ And this is the cause why Joshua  did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt that were males even all the men of war died in the wilderness by the way after they came out of Egypt.’ Acts chapter 7, verse 8[11] also reads, ‘and he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac and circumcised him the eight day.’
Despite the foregoing, arguments on religious basis can be canvassed against male circumcision in general. Let’s see the arguments. In the New Testament of the Bible, too much emphasis on outward circumcision was criticized by the Apostle Paul in his letters.[12] He argued that circumcision should be a thing of the heart. It definitely cannot be a criterion to see God. The following Biblical passages elucidate the point. In the Book of Romans 2: 25-29, we are instructed: ‘for circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the Uncircumcised keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise, is not of men but of God.’
  Similarly, Galatians 5: 6 states; [13]
                         ‘for in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing nor                           uncircumcision but faith which worketh by love.’
The foregoing depicts the fact that physical circumcision cannot be the gateway to any person’s salvation if he fails to keep Gods Laws. Case for religion may not stand as one cannot explain how the physical cutting of any part of ones body would lead him or her to heaven.

MEDICAL GROUNDS:
Fergusson, Lawton and Shannon remarked that, ‘non circumcised boys and men tend to have higher rates of various infections and inflammation of the penis and of the foreskin than circumcised men.’[14] The Wikipedia elucidates,[15] ‘Circumcision reduces the amount of Smegma produced by the male. Smegma is a combination of exfoliated epithelial cells, transudated skin Oils, and moisture that can accumulate under the foreskin of males. It has a characteristic strong odour and taste and is common to all mammals – male and female. While smegma is generally not believed to be harmful to health, the strong odour may be considered to be a nuisance or give the impression of a lack of hygiene.’
Circumcision can lead to severe medical complications. Circumcision whether of male or female can lead to death. The Wikipedia asserts informatively: ‘Bleeding and infection are the most common complications of the procedure. Longer term complications include: infections, urinary fistulas meatal stenosis, ulceration of the glans, removal of too much tissue, and secondary phimosis. Gardiner’s 1949 study[16] reported that an average of 16 Children per year, out of an estimated 90, 000 circumcisions per year died following circumcision in the U.K. during the 1940’s.  Gardiner also stated that most deaths had occurred suddenly under anesthesia. Loss of the penis itself has been documented.’
The above arguments outweigh that in support of circumcision.

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM):
This is defined as any form of surgical procedure on the female genital for any reason other than medical. The procedure usually involves cutting of whole of a girl’s clitoris and some parts of her sex organs for culture or non-therapeutic reasons. World Health Organization Technical Committee in 1995 classified FGM into four types[17]

Type 1 – Circumcision excision of the clitoral prepuce (the hood fold of skin above the clitoris) with or without excision of part or all the clitoris (this is referred to as ‘sunna’)

Type II- Excision or cutting of the prepuce and clitoris (clitoridectomy) together with partial or total excision of the labia minora (inner lip)

Type III- Infibulation or Excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching / narrowing of the vagina opening. It is sometimes referred to as ‘Pharaonic circumcision, in this procedure the two sides of the vulva are pinned together by silk leaving a very small opening preserved by thinly wood for passage of urine and menstrual blood.

Type IV- Unclassified intermediate procedure includes pricking, piercing, or incision of the clitoris and / or labia cauterization by burning of the clitoris and surrounding tissue; scraping of tissues surrounding the vagina orifice (angurya cuts) or cutting of the interior and sometimes posterior vaginal wall (gishiri cuts); introduction of corrosive substances into the vagina wall to cause bleeding or introduction of herbs into the vagina with the aim of tightening or narrowing it; and many other procedures that fall under the definition of female genital mutilation given above. The procedures describes above are irreversible and their effects last a lifetime[18]
[19] The reasons given to justify FGM are numerous, they include: custom and tradition; purification; family honour; hygiene; aesthetic reaons and protection of virginity and prevention of promiscuity. Others include increased sexual pleasure of husband; enhancing fertility; giving a sense of belonging to a group and increasing matrimonial opportunities. Nationwide among women who could identify the type of procedure the commonenst type of FGM is type II. Types I, II and III are found in different areas within the country. Type IV is common in the north as ‘GISHRI’ cuts, and in the south as the introduction of herbs into the vagina.
Female Genital Mutilation was traditionally the specialization of traditional healers, traditional birth attendants or members of the community known for their trade. There is however, the phenomenon of ‘medicalization’ which has introduced modern health practitioners and community health workers into the trade. The WHO has continually and unequivocally advised that FGM must not be institutionalized, nor should any form of FGM be performed by any health professional in any setting, including hospitals or in the home setting.

The most dangerous and the most extreme of all the FGM is the Type III Infibulation and it also has the most dangerous consequences. Infibulated women have sex very painful and in some the husband may have to deinfibulate them. Childbirth is also extremely painful and this can lead to prolong labour and eventually maternal and infant mortality. Sometimes Caesarian operation must be carried out or deinfibulation. FGM can also lead to fistula which can either be vesico-vaginal or rect-vaginal which will lead the continuous leakage of urine or faeces throughout the victim’s lifetime.

It has been documented that FGM is practiced in at least 30 states in Africa and also in Arab states like Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and in Indonesia and Malaysia. Due to African immigrations to Australia, Europe and America FGM has been introduced to western societies but it is practiced by Africans. However, Africa remains the center point of FGM since over 149 million women are mutilated yearly according to table below[20].


FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION STATISTICS ESTIMATED TOTAL NUMBER OF GIRLS AND WOMEN MUTILATED IN AFRICA.
Countries With Large % Mutilated
Total Population In Million
No of women (50%)Of total
% of Mutilated Women
Estimate Total In Millions
Egypt
64.74
32.39
90%
29.15
Sudan
27.89
13.05
85%
11.85
Somalia
10.2
0.31
99%
5.05
Djibouti
0.62
.31
90%
0.3
Ethiopia
58.7
.3
90%
1.2
Eritea
37.0
1.8
90%
1.2
Kenya
28.8
14.4
75%
10.80
Nigeria
108.47
54.24
60%
43.54
Mali
10.46
5.23
80%
4.18
Burkina Fasso
10.90
5.45
80%
4.36
Coted’Ivoire
15.0
7.5
70%
5.25
Siera Leone
4.4
2.2
95%
2.09
Guinea
7.5
3.75
85%
3.19
Guniea Bissau
1.15
0.52
85%
3.19
Togo
4.7
0.35
70%
1.41
Benin
5.9
0.35
70%
2.65
Chad
7.0
2.95
60%
2.1
Gambia
1.2
3.5
90%
0.54
Mauritania
2.4
0.6
40%
0.48
Ghana
18.1
1.2
30%
2.71
Liberia
2.94
9.5
70%
1.03
Senegal
8.8
1.47
25%
1.1
Central Africa
3.3
4.4
40%
0.66

TOTAL – WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA 64.73 MILLION in North and East Africa, 84.77 million
Estimated Number of Mutilated Girls and Women in Continental Africa = 149.50 million

EFFECTS OF FGM
The FGM procedure is carried out in various parts of Africa by different categories of people such as old women barbers, birth attendants and traditional circumcisers etc.[21]. The crude operation is done under unhygienic conditions with crude or rusty instruments like knives, broken bottles or other sharp objects. Usually it is done without anaesthetics with certain strong people pinning down the young girls by spreading their legs apart.
The unimaginable pain and psychological trauma of the victim of FGM has been recounted as follows:[22]
I was forcibly held down after the woman stripped me me naked. I was barely 6 years old and terrified. I did not know what was happening. They pulled my legs apart and held them open. A big woman sat down facing me and started to cut me with a large knife… it hurt badly. I tried to free myself and screamed and screamed. The last thing I remembered was blood all over spilling from between my legs. Then I passed out. 
FGM can be a direct cause of Vesico Virginal Fistula (VVF), if the “Surgeon’s” knife nicks the bladder. It can also be an indirect cause if the resulting fibrosis lead to obstruction of labour.The reason for practicing FGM varies between communities. In western part of Nigeria, female circumcision is usually carried out for cultural reasons, or to prevent sexual promiscuity. While in the Northern part, FGM is carried out on a woman in obstructed labour (Yanka Gishiri) worsening her condition in an attempt to relieve her obstruction. Yanka Gurya is another form of FGM where a perceived obstruction or tightness in vagina is relieved by cutting or incising the vagina. A virgin could develop Versico Virginal Fistulae (VVF) because of Yanka Gurya. 


REASONS FOR FGM
While excuses can be made for male circumcision either on grounds of hygiene or religion, that of female is based on wickedness of the male chauvinism targeted at;
(1) Reducing her sex urge
(2) Giving him dignity that his wife is circumcised, (even young girls of marriage age are        subjected to it if they had not already done it)
(3) Religion; although there is no scripture backing for female circumcision, Women are made to go through it and as a result may suffer infection, Versico Vaginal Fistulae (VVF) Indignity  and in some cases death.
If a parent bases her circumcision of a child on the 8th day on his religion we must then ask;
-         What is the Faith or religion of the child?
-         Whether a parent can consent that harm be inflicted on a child?
-         Whether there is any benefit to the child on religious or medical grounds.
-          If the child was an adult, whither he / she would he have agreed?
Shouldn’t the age of circumcision be linked to ability of a child to rationalize majority? While the constitution protects the freedom of worship, can the right of a  parent to worship be imposed on a child?
How can a child redress this wrong of grievous bodily harm in adulthood? All these are questions that must be seriously and dispassionately considered.
Both male and female circumcision can be dispensed with. Advocates should allow their victims take decisions as to whether or not to be circumcised when they attain the age of majority.
It has been variously proposed that circumcision began as a religious sacrifice, as a rite of passage marking a boy’s entrance into adulthood, as a form of sympathetic magic to ensure virility, as a means of suppressing (or enhancing) sexual pleasure, as an aid to hygiene where regular bathing was impractical, as a means of marking those of lower (or higher) social status, as a means of differentiating a circumcising group from their non-circumcising neighbours, as a means of discouraging masturbation or other socially proscribed sexual behaviours, to remove “excess” pleasure, to increase a man’s attractiveness to women, as a symbolic castration, as a demonstration of one’s ability to endure pain, or as a male counterpart to menstruation or the breaking of the hymen. It is possible that circumcision arose independently in different cultures for different reasons.     
Female circumcision is a negation of the right of a girl child. This is because the act of removing a woman’s clitoris is to reduce her sex drive. This is unfair, inhumane and unjust. Article 21 of the O. A. U. Charter on the Rights and welfare of the Child [23]  provides:
(1)  state parties to the present charter shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate         harmful social and cultural practices affecting the welfare, dignity, normal growth and        development of the child and in particular:
(2)   Those customs and practices discriminatory to the child on the grounds of sex or other         status.’ Similarly, Article 16 of the O.A.U. Charter legislates against sexual abuse.

   From the fore-going, it is clear that the law legislates against female circumcision. Of course, proponents of female circumcision would argue that there is no law which expressly forbids female circumcision. It is apt to ask: what is sexual abuse? Certainly reducing a girl’s sex drive is an extreme manifestation of sexual abuse. At creation, God commanded man to be fruitful and multiply, why should this divine injunction be flouted by the embrace of female circumcision? By circumcising a girl, we have chosen for her what her sexual life should be; in fact, we are opposing God’s right to create the clitoris. This is Ungodly.and such harmful cultural practices which promote the abuse and exploitation of the Nigerian or African child should be discouraged[24]. These include: early child marriages, traditional face and body marks, and female circumcision. Massive education in the rural areas will help to reduce these practices significantly. The family as the closest unit of the society to the child has a great responsibility in charting a way forward.’

CIRCUMCISION AND ITS LEGAL IMPLICATIONS
  In support of male circumcision, arguments can be made jurisprudentially, under various schools or the theories of law. The Natural Law School will simply state that: law is what conforms to divine will or nature – what God commands is law, what he forbids is not law. Philosophers like William of Ockham, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Anselm hold on to this view.[25] As to the ethical question why must I live a moral life? William of Ockham remarked: ‘I must live a moral life because God has commanded it.’ Similarly if we ask: why should male circumcision be done? The answer will simply be: ‘God has commanded it.’ Cicero the Roman Orator and natural law exponent illuminates this position when he wrote: ‘And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens or different laws now and in the future but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all Nations and all times and there will be one master and ruler, that is God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator and its enforcing judge.’[26]  Despite this convincing submission of Cicero, legally, it can be argued that there is no legislation known to me that expressly says that people must be circumcised. Jurisprudentially, we have a school of law known as legal positivism or the positivist school of law. This school posits that, ‘the law is a command of a superior for an inferior which much be obeyed by the inferior whether he likes it or not.’ It becomes necessary to ask: Apart from religious stipulations and medical arguments, is there any man- made law that prescribes for circumcision? The answer is a crystal ‘No’. 

Under the law of crimes on the other hand, we have what is known as the offence of ‘causing grievous bodily harm’ and there is a penalty for it[27]. It is submitted that slashing a male’s foreskin or female’s vulva amounts to causing grievous body harm. It is also done intentionally. It is said that, ‘a person intends the natural and probable consequences of his action.’ Let us be practical here, get an adult male of 21 years old and try to circumcise him, he would definitely not consent and would fight back in self defence. If he is forced into doing it, he will bring an action in court for a violation of his fundamental right to liberty or dignity. Male circumcision can therefore be dispensed with. To use the words of Obama the President of the United States of America,’yes it can’. Various legislations, domestic and international provide for the right to dignity of a human person.

THE LEGALITY OF CIRCUMCISION UNDER 1999 CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
The main-stream medical organizations in Nigeria consider circumcision to be a legal as long as the decision for circumcision was made by the parents or legal guardians, and they have given their informed consent.
However, under the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) chapter IV provides for human dignity, right to life, freedom of religion etc.[28]
Circumcision is one of the cultural practices that are inimical to humanity, and particularly to a child becoming unpopular in most of our African societies.[29] Besides exposing the victims to dangers of contacting venereal diseases such as HIV, the entire practice can be seen to violate the victim’s fundamental human rights to dignity as stipulated in the constitution.[30]
In an attempt to support circumcision particularly among girls, the argument submitted by the proponent of this practice is that it reduces the urge for sexual desire in the girl child. But then the proponent forget or fail to realize that taking any action against the will of party involved is a gross violation of the person’s right i.e. to dignity, freedom of religion and right not to be subjected to any body injury.[31]

UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHT OF 1948
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights UDHR (1948) was drafted by the UN Commission on Human Right in 1947 and 1948. The declaration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10th December 1948.
This declaration enunciates certain fundamental human rights which are of special interest in the study of the ethics of circumcision as it relates to human rights. They are the right to security of person, to freedom from torture and other cruel and unusual treatment, and to privacy.
Motherhood and childhood have a right to special protection. But most of the articles written are concentrated on protection of children from female circumcision, while they gloss over the issue male circumcision which is as dangerous as the former.
The recognition of the inherent dignity and of equal rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom from discrimination or torture i.e. circumcision of children.
If a child is not to be castrated as a result it is essential for parents & guardians to speak against religions and customs that encourage circumcision, since human right/child rights should be protected by rule of law.[32] However the disregard for human life by circumcision has resulted in some barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind.
Furthermore, the United Nations Charter have reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the Human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life.
In view of the above, consent of children should be needed after they reach the age of the puberty before they are circumcised, in line with the universal declaration on human dignity.[33]
All member states of United Nations charter on human right declaration have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of Universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms. However, common understanding of full realization of these rights and freedom is of greatest importance. Article 5 UN Charter on Human Right Declaration provides that
No one shall be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
The experience of such especially on the female is cruel since it involves injury to a child. A custom or religion which permits causing injury to persons is definitely inconsistent with the law and is therefore illegal.[34] The constitution which is the grundnorm in Nigeria protects Fundamental Human Rights. The rights of a child are also protected since they also fall within the definition of persons.
Article 18 of the UN charter on Human Right Declaration (1948) provides that
                   …Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in community with others or in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, worship and observance.
The National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centre in South Africa (NOCIRC-SA) is fighting for boys’ right to retain their foreskins. They say that circumcision without consent is a “violation of Childs rights” under Article 25 which states that:
                   “Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock shall enjoy the same social protection…”
The organization of (NOCIRC-SA) has supported the view that consent of a child is necessary before circumcision[35]
They are supported by a number of other local and international organizations including the International coalition of Genital integrity. Doctors opposing circumcision and the National Organization of Restoring Men (NORM), in a written statement submitted to the select committee by NORM that[36]
                   “As children, we were unable to voice our objections to halt these rituals of -genital mutilations that were carried out on us in hospital beyond. We are now able as adults to loudly and unreservedly condemn such sexual abuses…”
The South African Medical Association has said that there is no need for circumcision from the medical point of view.
Dr. Daniel Sidler[37] stated that
          ‘It is about the integrity of genitals. We are fiddling with normal and healthy genitals. In view of the above, it is suggested by NORM & NOCIRC-SA that; circumcision without consent is a violation of human rights[38]. So also Article 3 which states that in view of the above Articles, parents may carry out circumcision if consented to by their children i.e. 15 years old child[39]. In Nigeria there are efforts by women organizations to stop female circumcision for causing urinary problems and affecting young ladies within the ages of 12 years to 18 years of age.[40]
However, there was also an instance[41] where a Muslim was accused of assaulting her son through circumcision. A five year old boy, circumcised against his mother’s wishes, by the father, has been taken to court. The father has been alleged to have secretly taken the boy to a doctor for the procedure in North London and was charged to court because there was no consent of the mother.
The 27 year old man who lives in Crowley, West Sussex, denies committing an assault occasioning actual bodily harm in August 2003. The prosecutor told the court that the parents had been involved in a three month relationship and the mother realized she was pregnant after they broke up. The defendant who was of Moroccan origin, realized the child was his and he began raising the issue of circumcision in line with his religious beliefs. The mother said she would consent only for medical and not religious reasons. When the father circumcised the child, the mother accused him of assaulting their son, the defendant admitted that …”I have looked into it and it’s perfectly legal…”
Ms Crosby said the father not having applied for legal parental responsibility, could not have provided proper consent for the operation to take place.
Finally, male circumcision should not be isolated from female circumcision, because female circumcision is more dangerous that that of a male child.
Under the proposed bill which already has been approved by the National Assembly of Africa, anyone who practices female genital mutilation or virginity testing is guilty of an offence and can be imprisoned for up to 10 years.[42]
In respect of the above, South Africa has made a very remarkable achievement on circumcision, since they regard it as a violation of a child right.[43]
However, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) has made it very clear in Article 1 of the Charter that “…All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reasons and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood…”
The General Assembly proclaims this universal Declaration of human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all nations. To this end every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and educating to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among
the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction[44].

IS CIRCUMCISION NECESSARY IN OUR CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES
As heirs of the only extra-Europe culture touched by some sort of scientific thinking and often contributing to its development, it is the Judaizers who provide the so called “logical” arguments in favour of circumcision.[45]
The link between female circumcision and the hashish plague in Egypt has been widely exposed by El-masry.[46] Female circumcisions distaste sexual relations as very few healthy males can fully succeed in bringing a circumcised woman to orgasm. Such women lose their capacity for pleasures that the man will soon have to admit that he alone cannot do it. This lead to marital disharmony and frustration as the man would need drugs to hold erection for as long as necessary.
Some of such women are the ones to request that their husband use drug before sex: “they know from experience that it is their only chance of reaching orgasm, for hashish is the only cure for their mutilated clitoris.[47]
A bill to prohibit the circumcision of children should be made and vehemently enforced so as to check the wide spread practice of child circumcision both in Nigeria and beyond. This is based on the fact that no child consents to the exercise since it is usually performed when he has no say at all on the issue.
It has been suggested both by local and International Organizations that circumcision should be abolished in a modern society and a bill should be passed for the end to all forms of circumcision. For instance in South Africa, a group of men caused a stir in parliament by calling for an end to all circumcisions for being an assault. In Nigeria, there are laws before National and State Assemblies in respect of child rights.
However, in South Africa, a bill outlawing virginity testing and making parents and doctors liable to charges of assault for circumcising children is one step close to enactment.[48]
Male circumcision should not be isolated from female circumcision. The select committee on social development was holding hearing into children’s bill, which outlaws female genital mutilation and virginity testing.
Ferris said that the South Africa medical association has said that there is no need for circumcision from a medical point of view.[49]
However, every body agrees that legal measures will never be enough to stop female circumcision. A conscious awareness must be raised among the victims themselves. First, one must try to understand the reasons for those practices. For the time being, one may ask whether in order to avoid the worst, should FGM be permitted to be performed in the hospitals, in a less severe form?
As we have noted above, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Inter Africa Committee, the Declaration of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences and the London Declaration, all dismiss this possibility as ethically wrong. They even ask for strict sanctions against members of the medical profession who perform female circumcision.[50]
This opinion suggested that:- God who demands that his believers be mutilated and branded on their genitals the same as cattle, is a God of questionable ethics, it could be legitimate to perform either male or female circumcision, as any other surgery, for specific, extremely rare, medical reasons on specific individuals. But to arbitrarily mutilate children, boys or girls under the pretext that it is for their own good, shows an influence of cynicism and fanaticism. That is why there is no valid justification on the distinction made between male and female circumcision.
Doctor Zwang goes further to state that “female circumcision will never stop as long as male circumcision is going on. How do you expect to convince an African father to leave his daughter uncircumcised as long as you let him do it to his son?[51]
There is no alternative but to condemn the attitude of international and non governmental organizations, which dissociate one type of circumcision from the other, giving legitimacy to male circumcision in the process.

CONCLUSION:
Religion has been a means of justifying both male and female circumcision. It is time to expose the irrationality behind this thinking and reveal the harmful influence of some religious circles, which are in favour of it or refuse to denounce it.
Furthermore, there is no established evidence that the practice reduces sexual desires. Worst still, the practice exposes the parties to great danger of  contracting HIV/AIDS or other diseases since the equipments used are not well sterilized and the people handling these equipment’s are not well informed about their personal hygiene.
Nothing in section 28 – 35 of the 1999 constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.[52] In the interest of defence, public safety, public morality or public interest,[53] and for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons.[54]
The practice should not only be seen to be barbaric, it should also be seen as obscure as it no longer stands the test of time. Stakeholders are therefore enjoined to embark on vigorous campaigns in order to bring an end to this practice.
Government should go on mass sensitization in order to educate the people on the dangers of circumcision among children & especially the girl child.[55]
Conclusively, it is submitted that if sex is ordained by God, a girl’s sex drive should not be reduced by some barbaric behaviour. Female circumcision should have no place in our 21st century world. It is inhuman, illegal and ungodly. It should be a relic of the past.
It is also proposed that since the medical problem that can happen to a male if he is not circumcised is very infinitesimal, male circumcision is not a necessity, it can be done away with. In fact in England, it is not practiced in the hospitals, if a person wants to circumcise his child; he would have to get a Jewish Rabbi to do that. We therefore all have a joint duty to fight against male or female circumcision anywhere it is practiced among our people. It is crude, dangerous and wicked. Furthermore, there is no evidence that mutilated women are more faithful or better wives than those who are not. If we all join hands together, sex organ mutilation will become a thing of the past.              


*Agbonika Josephine A. A. Dr. (Mrs.)lecturer, Faculty of Law, Kogi State University,Anyigba; Commissioner, Tax Appeal    Tribunal, Enugu Zone.
[1] Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, (special price New 7th edition)
[2] Http: / en. Wikipedia.org/ wiki/ circumcision 
[3] Wikipedia, Ibid P
[4] Genesis Chapter 17 verses 10-14, King James Version, Red Letter Edition, P.9
[5] Wikipedia, Ibid Pg. 3
[6] Wikipedia, Ibid
[7] Wikipedia, Ibid Pg 4
[8] Sikh Basics and Misconceptions quoted in Wikipedia Ibid p. 6.
[9] Singh Jasprit. Questions and Answers. Akal Sangat, Akal Publications.
[10] Holy Bible op cit p.143
[11] Ibid 643
[12] Holy Bible Romans 2:25 p.662
[13] Ibid p.687
[14] Fergusson DM, JM Lawton, and FT Shannon (1988 April) Neonatal circumcision and penile problems: an 8 year longitudinal     study: cited in Wikipedia op vcit p.3   
[15] Wikipedia, ibid
[16] Gardiner Douglas, The Fate of the Foreskin (1949 December) British Medical Journal, Vol. 2  pg. 1433-1437 
[17] WHO, Elimination a female genital circumcision in Nigeria released by Family Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health, Phase III, Federal Secretariat Abuja, Dec.2007 P.1
[18] For further definition of FGM, see Toubia, caring for women with circumcision, New York Rainbow; p.14
[19] WHO OP CIT P.4-5
[20] Hoshen, Fran P. Women’s International Network, News (Lexington 1997)
[21] Dorkenoo, Efua, et al, female Genital Mutilation: proposals for change (London, Minority Rights Group) 1996, p.12
[22] Hoshen, Fran P. Stop Female Genital Mutilation. Women speak facts and Actions (Lexington, USA, WIN NEWS) 1995, P.48
[23] O.A.U. Charter on the Rights and welfare of the Child.
[24] Imeh Ekanem; Protection of Children Against Abuse and Exploitation; the way forward, published in the Vision of a genius.
[25] Marcus Tullius Cicero quoted in Dennis Lloyd: Idea of law (London, Penguin Books) 1964.p.73-74
[26] Marcus Tullius Cicero ibid
[27] S.240 and 241 Nigerian Penal Code
[28] Holman, John R. Keith A. Stuessi (March 15, 1999) “Adult Circumcision” American Family Physician 59(6) 1514 – 1518.
[29] The New York Times, (August 26, 2005).
[30] The Jewish Journal of greater Los Angeles, (February 18, 2005)
[31] Zenie Ziegler, Wedad, Marcure de France, Paris, 1985 pp. 139 – 140-
[32] S. 45(1) CFRN 1999.
[33] S. 45(a) CFRN 1999.
[34] Obilade, Nigerian Legal System; Spectrum Law Series
[35] Women Right Advancement Protection Agency (WRAPA) Magazine (February, 2001)
[36] Ibid pg. 3
[37] Ibid pg  4
[38] Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) Preamble
[39] Article 3 of UN Charter on Human Right Declaration 
[40]    http://www.tribune.com.ng/0202200/igbocul.html(retrieved may5,2011)
[41]Daily News, South Africa, October 12, 2005 p.2
[42] ibid
[43] Ibid
[44] Articles 1-30 UDHR (1948) Human Rights
[45] Jannie Stephen Circumcision a “violation of child Right” Daily News, Durban, South Africa, Wednesday, (October 12, 2005).
[46] El-mastry, Ledrame sexual pp.56-69
[47] Article published on p. 2 Daily News, October 12, 2005, South Africa.
[48] James Tapsfied. Muslim Accused of Assaulting Son though circumcision. The Scotman, Tuesday 3 May, 2005.
[49] Jannie Stephen op cit.
[50] For the link between drugs and female circumcision, see Amin: Qamus, p. 188, Morsy Soheir.
[51] El-masry, ledrame sexual, op. Cit: pp 56-69
[52] Chapter. IV CFRN 1999.
[53] S. 34(1) (A) CFRN 1999.
[54] & S. 34(1) CFRN 1999.
[55] S. 38(1) CFRN 1999.
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