A Bill for the prevention of facial scarification has passed its second reading. The bill, intended to establish an Act to for the Prohibition of Facial Mutilation, Offences, Prosecution and Punishment of Offenders, passed its second reading in the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday.
The Bill will also serve to protect victims under threat of facial scarification and related matters.
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Dino Melaye, said that facial scarification had long passed its need, noting that Africans, prior to civilization, used tribal marks as a means for identifying persons, which is no longer necessary due to sophistication of the new age.
Melaye said the reasons underlying the need for tribal marks could not be proven, and as such they have no basis for application.
“All these reasons cannot be scientifically proven, and hence cannot enjoy the support for this harmful practice’’.
“The irony of these marks is that it makes victims subjects of mockery by friends. Imagine someone being called a tiger simply because of the thick cheeks resulting from facial marks.
“These people have been subjected to different reactions. Some have lamented the marks that are bequeathed on them as generational inheritance.
“Many have cursed the day which this dastardly act was performed on them.
“Many of the grown adults have confessed that the most terrific debacle of their lives is their tribal marks. Some have become eunuchs because of this stigma.
“Imagine a boy in the class of 25 pupils carrying a tribal mark. His mates will call him the boy with the railway line. They are emblems of disfiguration.
“Some of them have developed low self-esteem and most times treated with scorn and ridicule including rejection by the female folks.
“The reactions of people who interact with them say it dampens and lowers their spirit,’’ he said.
Melaye also noted that scarifying the faces of children was tantamount to an infringement on the rights of the child, adding that the law should put an immediate end to the act.