By Diana Ebai
An African adage has it that old wine is better when mixed with new one. But this adage does not hold true in all cases as in the case of traditional beliefs versus modern day values. Such is the case with the inhuman tradition of female genital mutilation which has not only taken away thousands of lives, but affected the health of millions of African women and Nigeria in particular. The tradition still prevails in high magnitude in places like Ajeromi-Ifelodun local government area of Lagos where women still continue to undergo the inhuman treatment of female genital mutilation under the umbrella of respecting tradition.
While some women go through it and endure the consequences, others make up their mind to run away from the unscrupulous tradition and face the rod of death if caught running away from it or other punishment as could be decided by the local deity or village circumciser.
Mrs. Onome Ayegba of the Ajeromi-Ifelodun local government area of Lagos is a victim of circumstance as she could not stand the vice of her tradition of female genital mutilation and had succeeded in fleeing from its practices. Unknown to her, the deity had been informed of how she was trying to protect her female kids from being mutilated.
While there was an open fight between her family and the circumcisers when they came to forcefully circumcise her daughters which led to the death of her mum, her husband was later beaten until he slept at the hospital for being unable to bring his children through for circumcision. Even as a member of the Nigerian air force, Onome Ayegba could not use her position to intimidate the ills of tradition meted on her and her family. Instead when she attempted to report to the police, she was advised to succumb to it for they are traditionally recognized values. One would think that after such horrific treatment and consequences as death on the family of Ayegba, the deity and traditional circumcisers would be appeased but no, they connived and the family house of the said family has been burnt down after no one could help them trace their whereabouts.
Today, the beautiful house of Mr. and Mrs Ayegba looms in flames and stands as a symbol of punishment for disobeying tradition and no one seems to know their whereabouts.
Ms Ebai wrote from the United States