Saturday, 11 October 2014

To Cut Or Not To Cut? Circumcision of 5yr old girl rips two families apart [PHOTO]

By Morakinyo Olugbiji|For instant gists, ff @splendor_online|BB:2288C601

Two families, the royal family of Olaoye in Ushi-Ekiti and the Oyenekan family are at loggerheads over the circum cision of a 5-year-old girl, Sunnewsonline reports...

The once rosy relationship between both families has now turned sour following a disagreement over the circumcision of their 5-year-old daughter.

Miss Olufunke Oyenekan, mother of the 5yr old girl and fiancee to Emmanuel Olaoye, son of the Olaoyes, a royal family in Ushi-Ekiti, Ekiti State, had disagreed with the Olaoyes over their decision to perform the traditional circumcision rites on her daughter.

The woman, sensing that her husband's family wanted to perform the rites by all means, fled with her child from the Olaoye's family house in Ushi Ekiti in 2012 and her whereabouts has since remain unknown.

Recently, the Olaoye family again raised the alarm through a representative, identified as Chief Olu Olaoye over the sudden disappear­ance of Olufunke and her daughter. The family said that their son's fiancee did not mean well for the family by preventing them from per forming the circumcision rites on the child. Their explana tion is that it is a mandatory cultural practice to have all their children circumcised, moreso that theirs is a royal family whose duty it is to preserve the cultural heritage of the people of Ushi Ekiti in order to set an example for the people.

"She (Olufunke) is not helping us, neither is she helping our daughter she has taken away. There are certain cultural practices that we adhere to in our land, some are avoidable while others are not. This practice of circum­cision is part of the unavoid able ones. Olufunke cannot prevent us from carrying out cultural and traditional rites on our own blood. It is a must that we do the circumcision rites for the girl. Moreso, that the child is a princess, a daughter from the royal fami ly of Ushi Ekiti and possibly a future regent!.

"We have told them (Olu funke's family) that they must ensure that they produce her because she cannot prevent us from performing our tradi tional duties. She must bring our daughter for the circum cision rites, " he said, fuming with anger.

Meanwhile, Olufunke has vowed not to allow anyone, even if it is her husband, to carry out any circumcision rites on her daughter. A mem ber of her family, who spoke to Sunday Sun on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said: "As for the Oyenekan family, we have no problem with whatever the Olaoye family wants to do with their daughter. In our part of the world, it is the man who owns the child and has the final say over him or her. But our daughter, Olufunke is more western-oriented than many of us. She has vowed not to allow any circumcision for her daughter. She says the practice might have an adverse effect on the girl in the future. We would have been able to intervene in the matter to ensure that peace reigns but right now, I can swear to you that we do not even know the whereabouts of Olufunke and her child. In fact, we learnt that her older son has also joined his mum where she was but we do not have any idea of where that is. There was a time she took refuge with their pastor in a church in Abeokuta. The pas tor assisted in getting the hu man rights group to intervene for peaceful resolution of the matter, but the fiance' family became violent about the mat­ter, they wanted to get their daughter by all means. We learnt that Olufunke narrowly escaped the attack on her and ran off with her daughter. We can only appeal to our in-laws to exercise patience on this issue till God makes Olufun ke to come back, right now, there is nothing anyone can do.", the man said.

Speaking on phone to the Sunday Sun, Mr. Emmanuel Olaoye, fiancé to Olufunke, narrated how the trouble over the circumcision rites started, his words:

"My fiancée, Olu funke Oyenekan and I met in February14,2006 and we love each other but haven't mar ried legally. We were co-habit ting and eventually had two kids. A boy and a girl.

"Things went on smooth ly between us till I lost my father who was a traditional ruler in Ushi Ekiti, my home town. I received the message of the death of our royal fa ther and was told I had been picked as his successor. So, I went home for the burial rites and took my wife-to-be and our children with me, actually to ensure that my extended family get to know her. We travelled to Ushi Ekiti in Jan uary 1,2012.

"However, we didn't know that a shocker was awaiting us at Ushi-Ekiti. My family demanded that we submit our children for circumcision rites.

Funke, my wife-to-be, didn't like this arrangement at all. She didn't particularly want our daughter, who was then two years and four months old to be circumcised as she said she didn't like what she experience as a woman who was circumcised by her par ents when she was young.

"But my people won't be persuaded to spare our daughter of the treatment because our tradition forbids any of our blood not being administered the circumcision rites.

"My fiancée has since fled with our daughter since the disagreement in Ushi-Ekiti. As I'm going to succeed my late father as the traditional ruler of our town, it becomes more mandatory for my children to be circumcised. Here in our land, it is part of the prerequisites of a king-to-be to have all his children circumcised. We really do not have a choice here. But my fiancee sees the practice as barbaric and outdated. She won't have any of it for our daughter. "

"That is why she ran away with our daughter. Our son has also joined her where she is. I want to be­lieve her people arranged her escape and know her where abouts but they are claiming ignorance of it. We once heard she was in a pastor's custody in one Bethel Love Church in Abeokuta, Ogun State. My people went there but she escaped from them and fled to an unknown place with the children and hasn't been seen since then. I'm just confused about the whole development, " Olaoye said, wearing a defeated, melan choly look.

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