Female Genital Mutilation and its practice among the Igbo [NGA34443.E]

Information that would update NGA32137.E of 7 July 1999 could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

However, in her 1991 paper, "Prisoners of Ritual: Some Contemporary Developments in the History of Female Genital Mutilation," FGM researcher Hanny Lightfoot-Klein noted the following observations regarding the incidence of FGM among the Igbo:

Among the Nigerian Ibo, a considerable decline in the rate of female circumcision in recent decades has been reported by one researcher. A study by Megafu found that in 1983 among a sampling of 140 women between the ages of 36 and 45, 85% were circumcised. By contrast, this percentage had dwindled to 33% among a sampling of 120 females between the age of 16 and 25. (Megafu, U., 1983) He comments that he is not sure of the reasons for this change, but speculates that Western influences play a part.
Ogunmodede, who reports on this same region, maintains on the other hand, that the custom may be gradually diminishing, but at what seems to be a far slower rate than in Megafu's study. She reports that in areas where the procedures are performed on girls of marriageable age, many run away from their villages in order to avoid being circumcised. ...
(Megafu, U., (1983), Female Ritual Circumcision in Africa: An Investigation of the Presumed Benefits among Ibos of Nigeria, East African Med. Journal, 40(11) 793-800.)
(Ogunmodede, F. (undated) Female Circumcision in Nigeria, Companion Features, 48 Winnock Road, Yiewsley, West Drayton, Mddx., U.K.)

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Lightfoot-Klein, Hanny. 1991. "Prisoners of Ritual: Some Contemporary Developments in the History of Female Genital Mutilation." Paper presented at the Second International Symposium on Circumcision in San Francisco, 30 April-3 May 1991. http://www.fgmnetwork.org/Lightfoot-klein/prisonersofritual.htm [Accessed 8 May 2000]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet Websites including:

AfricaNews Online

The Female Genital Mutilation Education and Networking Project.

The Guardian


Post Express Wired.

The Research, Action and Information Network for Bodily Integrity of Women. (RAINBO).


WIN News. 1999.

World Health Organization

World News Connection (WNC)