Genital Mutilation Triggers Crisis in Ondo, In-laws Fight Dirty Over Practice

A crisis of monumental proportion, is presently brewing within the family of a USA based Nigerian, Mr. Joshua Ogunreti over in-law’s insistence that her only daughter must be presented for genital Mutilation.

The crisis is threatening the unity between Joshua and her heartthrob, Bola, while the families of the duo are daily embroiled in crisis and exchanging bouts over the obsolete and antiquated practice.

The conundrum started manifesting  in 2016, when Joshua’s In-laws from Oka Akoko in Ondo State gave a stern directive that their only daughter must be brought home for genital cut according to their tradition, which he resisted vehemently . 

Information has it that every female child from age seven (7) must go through female genital mutilation or cutting before attaining puberty age or getting married in the Joshua’s in-laws family, (the wife’s family). The reason for this extinct and disused practice is only known to the family.

The case has snowballed to the level that Joshua’s family had instructed him to divorce the wife, while also making efforts to sell off his property here in Nigeria, which the wife had blocked on the premise that the property were built and acquired through joint efforts.

The crisis had also escalated to the extent that the wife’s family had lost contact with their daughter, which had further pushed Joshua’s In-laws to be more ferocious and suspicious of the husband’s actions  .

While the wife’s family was maintaining a hardlining posture that the girl must be brought home in line with the tradition, the husband’s side was resisting such practice , describing it as outdated and ill-fashioned for this era. 

 Joshua’s mother, Mrs Ogunreti, who recounted her ordeals, told newsmen that the precarious situation and the threat the crisis poses to his only successful child, Joshua, has been having a pernicious effect on her health.

 She said: ” I received more than two threat calls every week that I should warn my son, Joshua to leave Bola alone. I can’t sleep, I  am falling sick  everyday .Joshua is my only successful son, who has been  taking care of his brothers and sisters , including me before his wife’s family brought this problem upon him”.

Relaying how he has been under intense and severe attacks from Bola’s family, Joshua’s brother, Femi Ebenezer said he was beaten and humiliated  many times by his brother’s In-laws .

Femi explained that he first reported the case of  constant attacks  on him at the Nigeria Security and civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) office,While he made report over the  second attack at the Nigeria police force, and went back to civil defense office to make another report all in ondo state .

He added that he wrote a statement at the police station and also attached  an affidavit  dated 27th of June, 2018 to the statement to give it effect and probative value in any court of law. With all the effort Nigeria civil defense and police Joshua wife’s family never stopped attacking us.

Joshua’s brother, Femi Ebenezer further explained that the whole family has been living in fear since his half brother left Nigeria . Femi stated that what makes the issue more pathetic was the fact that he has been the one carrying the family responsibilities, describing the vitriolic and pugnacious actions from his In-laws over genital issue as unwarranted and disheartening.

He added: “my house was attacked on Sunday on June the 16th 2019 while I was in the church with my family, when the hoodlums attacked the house and gained entry  through the roof. We only thank  God,  nobody was at home then.

“Secondly, he was attacked on Saturday July 27th this time around, he was at home with his family and one of his brothers,  David. He was beaten and tortured . Before the police could arrive the scene, the assailants had left. The case is being investigated by Nigeria police here in Ondo state.

Another sibling, David was attacked on his way to work along Igoba, Ado- road . He reported the case at the NSCDC office in  Iju,  Ondo state”.

Ebenezer said attacks on his family members had refused to abate in spite of warnings from security agencies, owing to desperation on the part of Joshua’s In-laws to ensure that the genital cut, is performed.

He said further: “Deborah , who  is Joshua’s sister  but resident in Ibadan, Oyo state capital had been also attacked and threatened many times. Her husband  reported the  case at criminal investigation and Intelligence department, Iyanganku, Ibadan on the 1st of  July , 2018.

“Our correspondent tried to talk to one of the Bola’s brother , Kayode,  who resides in United Arab Emirates at the beginning of the matter, the brother described the matter as purely a family issues, but He blamed Joshua his sister for their disobedience to the tradition of the family which he said has caused  misunderstanding within the family, and denied any wrong doing.

“To our chagrin, he even said there was no  alternative than for the couple to listen to the family and, come back home and do what the family was asking for or the couple should be separated (he should leave my sister alone). We tried to ask him further questions, he refused”, to answer our questions .

Our correspondent further questions two pastors who had been trying to ensure peaceful co-existence between the two families and some other people that Joshua’s family think they could help that pleaded anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, and for security purposes.

They both made this newspapers understand that the couple have made the best decision to fled their country and protect their only child.

Ebenezer added that he had also reported the burning and destruction of Joshua’s properties to NSCDC  on the 18th of May,  2018, adding that when the  threat continued,  he proceeded to the police station on 31st July , 2018 with an affidavit dated 27th June 2018. 

He stated that he went  back to civil defence office to make another official report on the 18th August,  2018.

According to him, “what triggered the recent crisis was attempt by Joshua’s In-laws to embark on arbitrary arrest of their family members without justifiable reasons, which he said would be resisted at all costs. Everyone we invite to intercede for us on the matter, or people who aware and try to help us usually come back to say their hands are tied base on the wife’s family political influence.

“About two weeks ago, one of the Joshua’s brothers named  Lekan was arrested on the 23rd January, 2020 by police being prodded by wife’s family, but was later released on bail.

“Since the beginning of this problem in 2017, many  incidents had happened but we decided to keep it away from the couple, because it will add to the psychological trauma. We want to be civil in the way we handle it and that was why we have been involving the security agencies”, he said.

The family said they are beginning  to read meanings to the actions being taken by the In-laws over the genital mutilation saga , considering the desperation being exhibited  by them on this matter.