BEHOLDING FEMALE GENITAL INCISION THROUGH THE LENS OF CULTURAL RELATIVISM: THE NEED TO STRIKE A BALANCE

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Tolulope Ibitoye

Abstract

Female Genital Incision (FGI), the cutting and/or removal of female genitals, is a practice that is celebrated by pro-FGI groups, that is, the majority of Nigerian tribes (Indigenous Actors) as a cultural heritage, although, it is considered as a violation of human rights by anti-FGI groups like few (non-practicing Indigenous Actors) such as the Ijebus of South-West Nigeria, and several (International Actors) including WHO, UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Both actors antagonize each other on FGI and have reasons for this, hence, the battle against FGI cannot be won. Therefore, the aim of this research is to ascertain the rationale for FGI practice and persistence in Moniya, Ibadan, Nigeria while employing cultural relativism as a tool to strike a balance between pro-FGI and anti-FGI cultures, thus, reducing/eradicating FGI. The article conducts doctrinal and qualitative research. It carries out Interviews on 20 purposively selected Key Informants. The study finds that although FGI prevalence has reduced in Ibadan, it is still practiced in its interiors/rural communities majorly due to the cultural significance attached to it. It finds that 60% of respondents knew of the existence of FGI laws, however, the laws are not enforced. The article suggests that government should strike a balance between the dual cultures by taking a multifaceted approach.

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