A 59-year-old man, Mr Ziworitin Keke, has allegedly cut off part of the genitals of his eight-month-old grandson while circumcising the boy at Ondewari, a coastal settlement in Bayelsa.
The baby is currently receiving medical care at the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa capital.
It was learnt that Keke, a well known `specialist’ in circumcision in the area, almost “chopped off half of the baby’s genitals.”
The father of the infant, Mr Joseph Michael, said his wife took the infant to a health centre following the incident.
“After cutting off my boy’s penis, the man, who is married to my son’s grandmother, told my wife to leave the child with him for at least three weeks so that he could treat him very well.
“But my wife refused because the boy was bleeding and she rushed him to the health centre at Korokorosei, a neighbouring community to us,” he said.
He explained that they were referred to the Federal Medical Centre Yenagoa for specialised medical care, adding that he was in financial distress as he could not afford the cost of treatment.
Michael urged public spirited individuals to come to his aid to save the life of his son.
Reacting to the incident, Mr Alagoa Morris, a human rights activist, said the incident would have been avoided if government had provided health facilities to rural communities.
“My first concern is with the baby going through the terrifying pain. The man who performed the circumcision is a renowned traditional circumcision expert in the community and even beyond.
“He has successfully carried out the service at no cost to parents for many years including two older brothers of the victim.
“This must have been a mistake. More than 1,000 circumcisions have been performed by him without any complication.
“So, calls for his arrest are misplaced. A lot of residents in the community have no access to medical facilities and they believe and resort to traditional medicine men, traditional birth attendants inclusive.
“It is imperative for the state and local governments to join forces and make orthodox medical service available to rural dwellers in the coastlines and riversides. Only then will the people have a choice,” Alagoa said.
Meanwhile, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in Bayelsa has called for the arrest and prosecution of Keke.
Mrs Dise Ogbise-Erhisere, Chairperson of FIDA in the state, who made the call after visiting the victim at the medical centre, said they had petitioned the office of the commissioner of police on the matter.