The National Sowei Councils on Friday, August 19 called on President Julius Maada Bio to protect soweis from Anti-FGM campaigners.

“We want the Bio Administration to protect our soweis and ordinary Bondo and Sande women in this country and our rights to self-determination and to bodily autonomy,” said Dr. Sia Fuambai Ahmadu, Spokeswoman for the Soweis in a Press Conference at the Big Obasai Hall in Freetown.

The Spokeswoman said their practice has been deliberately tagged to be barbaric by western nation in an attempt to submerge the culture and tradition of Sierra Leone. She stated that female genital mutilation is wrong and that what they practice is female circumcision synonymous to that of the male.

“Bondo and Sande societies do not practice FGM,” Ahmadu affirmed.

She added that the term FGM is just another term to brand African and Muslim women as “sexually disfigured and dysfunctional victims of patriarchy”.

She furthered that there is a surge in the number of western women going for circumcision and that it is now becoming lucrative for surgeons.

The Sowei Spokeswoman said the west have created “legal loopholes” in order to make the practice safe for predominantly white male doctors who make “millions of dollars” from it.

The Soweis also acknowledged that most the campaigns over the years have been done by local NGOs like Purposeful Now and Amazonian Initiative. They said that most of these local NGOs campaign because it is lucrative as it attracts millions of US dollars from foreign organisations like Equality Now.

During the Press Conference, the Soweis also called on the Government to rethink the appointment of the new Minister of Information and Civic Education, Chernor Bah. They said Bah is the head of ‘Purposeful Now’ one of the plaintiffs in matter filed against the state of Sierra Leone in an alleged FGM matter at the ECOWAS Court.

“The appointment of C. Bah who, as head of Purposeful, less than three months ago filed a lawsuit at ECOWAS against this very Bio Government appears disingenuous,” the spokeswomann said.