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1.1 Background of the Study

The practice of female genital mutilation which is otherwise called circumcision is one of the religious and social elements of African culture, it is observed in almost all parts of African, Nigeria  inclusive. The  practice of this culture is in most cases not premised on good ethical and philosophical foundations as most societies engage in it simply because is part of the laid down tradition they inherited from their past generations. For to say that, the essence of cutting off some or part of a woman’s clitoris

is to remove the unclean aspect of women and to promote their femininity as most culture   would hold, is illogical, inconsistent, irrational because such a practice can cause reproductive dysfunction in women, susceptibility to diseases and lack of desire for sex. And all these tends to altar the act of procreation and the institution of marriage instituted by God. Hence, the practice of female genital mutilation is not both biological, medical, physical and morally relevant to the development of the women folk.

More so, it is of philosophical relevance to point out that there is the need to come up with philosophical ways forward to the evil and menace of Female Genital Mutilation especially in the Nigerian society where it has permeated the socio-cultural and traditional aspects of the society. Its evils has to a very large extent brought about women underdevelopment, abuse of women right, dehumanization and demeaning of the personality of women in the society. This work therefore will help to expose the evil of Female Genital Mutilation, and in doing so come up with workable solution to the ethical underdevelopment which Female Genital Mutilation has brought to the Nigeria society.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The practice of Female Genital Mutilation in most African societies have not reflected any form of morality, in most cases, it has brought about deprivation of a woman’s right to personal liberties and freedom. The practice has not also shown to be of any medical relevance as it has in many cases brought about infertility, lack of sexual stimulations and bleeding to the victims. Hence, it is in the place of philosophers who are thinkers and rationalizes to expose the evil effects of Female Genital Mutilation in other to find lasting solutions to its practice.

It is therefore in this regard or line of thought that the writer has undertaken to critically appraise the morality behind the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. In doing this, such questions as what really is this Female Genital Mutilation? What reasons do we have for embarking on it? Can it bring about any form of development in a woman? Was raised. And this work is solely dedicated in demystifying these puzzles.

1.3 Objective of the Study

This study aims at certain objectives which are peculiar to the Practice of Female Genital Mutilations in Nigeria, some of these objectives include the following:

It aims at exposing the meaning of Female Genital Mutilation, its procedures and the instruments used in carrying it out. And with this, the work will be able to expose the medical and ethical cum biological implications of using some of the instruments and objects used in carrying out Female Genital Mutilations in Nigeria.

This work also aims at showing that Female Genital Mutilation is religiously unacceptable since it is not instituted by God and it also alters procreation in most cases since the practitioners are untrained surgeons who may cut off a sensitive part of female reproductive organs. The work equally aims at proving without equivocation that female genital mutilation is philosophically, morally, socially, religiously and spiritually irrelevant and in consequential.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This work will be significant or important or beneficial in the following was:

It can serve as a researched material through which information concerning Female Genital Mutilation can be retrieved. That is, it can serve as a source of reference for further studies and research for undergraduates in philosophy. It will help to revitalize the culture, customs and tradition of most societies or ethnics practicing Female Genital Mutilation. It will help to encourage woman development and liberation through giving them inspiring and encouraging counsel to fight and protect their right of self preservation, self development and self-realization. It will equally help to provide ideal reasons why the practice of Female Genital Mutilation should be jettisoned in Nigerian society.

This study will above all these significance help to the readers to see more reason why the fundamental human right of women should be protected because, it is an infringement on an individual’s freedom or liberty.

1.5 Method of the Study

This study employs the critical, evaluative, argumentative, expository and the critical method of philosophy. The study use the library research method as most of its information and facts are collected from the library. It also uses textbooks, Journals, Internet materials and articles. Again, it used the new MLA style of documentation in its citations.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study of the practice of Female Genital Mutilation across cultures would be a very vast area of study which when one embark upon, may lose the focus of this work. In that effect therefore, this work will focus on the practices of Female Genital Mutilation in the various ethnic groups in Nigeria, especially in the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba cultural background. Attempt would also be made to examine the meaning of Female Genital Mutilation, its procedure, effects and its moral implications to the Nigerian societies.

It is also believed that the expositions carried out in this work will help to restructure and revitalize the culture of other African countries that have been practicing Female Genital Mutilation. This is because certain allusions will be made to other African countries in the course of writing this work.

1.7 Organization of the Study

This work is basically written in five chapters, chapter one deals with the general introductions to the concept of Female Genital Mutilation the significance and objective of the work. Chapter two examines the position of scholars who have contributed in one way or the other to the conceptualization of the meaning of Female Genital Mutilation, its procedures, effects and implications. The views of these scholars are critically reviewed in this chapter. Chapter three deals with the historical development of Female Genital Mutilation, especially among the three basic ethnic groups in Nigeria, its procedure, practice and types and the reasons for its practice. Chapter four deals with the philosophical evaluation of the practice of Female Genital Mutilation, attempt would also be made in this chapter to look at the position of various ethical theorists and ethicists as it concerns the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. While the chapter five is the concluding aspect of the work, it generally evaluate the work, come up with some workable recommendations that will help correct the evils of the practice of Female Genital Mutilation and from there come up with some logical conclusion.

1.8 Clarification of Terms

This section will be concerned with the clarification of certain terms that may be difficult to conceptualize in the process of reading this work.

  1. F.G.M- This acronym means Female Genital Mutilation, F.G.M refers to a cultural, religious practice that involve the partial or complete cutting of the clitoris of a woman especially for certain cultural reason like, preventing infidelity, reducing sexual urge in a woman and losts of other reason. Female Genital Mutilation is premised on the belief that, it is a way of ushering a young girl into adulthood as its is the belief in Female Genital Mutilation society that a girl that did not under go this process will not get married. It is in view of this that Sarkis .M. defined Female Genital Mutilation as “an invasive and painful surgical procedure that is often performed without anesthetic on girls before puberty. It mainly involves the complete or partial removal of a woman’s clitoris” (29).
  2. b. Moral- The construct moral is derived from the word morality, as we know morality deals with the rightness, or wrongness of human action and behaviors. Hence, in this work, the principle of morality will be used to evaluate the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. Moral is therefore in this work used as an ethical concepts that examines the justification for performing certain human actions. It is in this regard that the Oxford advance learner’s dictionary defined morality as “The degree to which something is right or wrong, good or bad etc according to moral principle” (76).


1.9 Justification of the Study

This study is very important, as it would help to expose the evils of Female Genital Mutilation on the fundamental human right of women.  This study will equally help to restore the place of morality and ethical development of the various ethnic group of Nigeria. With the analysis and exposition carried out in this work such dangers as the transmission of HIV and Sex, transmitted diseases will be nipped to the bud, as people would be encouraged to stop the practice of Female Genital Mutilation because of the dangers association with it. Above all, it is only through these kinds of conscientizing exercise that these Obnoxious Laws like Female Genital Mutilation can be jettisoned in Nigeria society.


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