A worker with some of the tools used for FGM in Africa

A brutal tradition akin to female genital mutilation is spreading in Cameroon’s war zone. Girls’ breasts are “flattened” with hot irons and stones to keep men at bay.

When Grace Tchami started showing signs of puberty at age nine, her mother, hoping to protect her, began to torture her. At about seven o’clock every morning, her mother would take one of the heavy stone pestles used for grinding food and heat it burning hot over a charcoal fire, then press it on Grace’s breasts, attempting to flatten them.

In a small, bamboo-roofed kitchen behind the house, Grace remembers, Mama performed this procedure day after day for three months. Grace’s older brother would hold her legs so she couldn’t run away. And then, still reeling from the ordeal, Grace would be sent along to elementary school.

I met Grace, who is now 16, in this southern Nigerian town where she had traveled across the Cameroonian border to buy fabric for her mother’s sewing business. She said she is permanently scarred and still suffers from the trauma. She said her mother told her the goal was to make her less desirable to boys, and thus to kill any chance of her getting pregnant early.

And Grace is not alone. The tradition of “breast ironing” has gone on for years in Cameroon, and appears to be spreading among parents who hope to keep their daughters out of the hands of Boko Haram’s brutal jihadists.

In its its 2014 human rights report on Cameroon, the U.S. State Department likened “breast ironing” to the more prevalent practice of female genital mutilation. This “procedure to flatten a young girl’s growing breasts with hot stones, cast-iron pans, or bricks” has “harmful physical and psychological consequences, which include pain, cysts, abscesses, and physical and psychological scarring,” according to the report.

The United Nations says breast ironing now affects 3.8 million women around the world. While the U.S. human rights report suggested reports of the practice are “rare,” the local press in Cameroon has reported that up to 50 percent of girls undergo the very painful procedure on a daily basis.

Research in 2011 by Gender Empowerment and Development (GEED), a non-governmental organization based in Bamenda in Cameroon’s northwestern region, found that about one in four females in the country had experienced it. In about 58 percent of the cases it was mothers who performed the procedure, believing they were protecting their daughters.

Analysts say breast ironing was initially done by women with the thought of improving a mother’s breast milk. But the thought later changed when rape and teenage pregnancy became rampant. Mothers began to carry out the procedure on their girls as they believed that their daughters’ breasts would expose them to the risk of sexual harassment and early pregnancies.

Girls from rich families are made to wear a wide belt, which presses the breasts and is supposed to prevent them from growing.

While the tradition is widespread in Cameroon, similar practices have been documented in Nigeria, Togo, Republic of Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa.

The United Nations Population Fund has named breast ironing as one of five under-reported crimes related to gender-based violence.

Findings from GIZ, the German state-owned development agency, revealed that 39 percent of Cameroonian women oppose breast ironing, while 41 percent support it.

Human rights activists say breast ironing affects women in all 10 of Cameroon’s provinces, and the tradition is practiced by all of Cameroon’s over 200 ethnic groups.

“The process of breast ironing requires the use of any metal, including wooden sticks, pestles, spatulas, spoons and rocks,” said Maryam, a Cameroonian hairdresser now based in Ikom, a home to thousands of Cameroonian migrants and a market place for traders from the Central Africa country. “The heat from these tools is expected to melt the fat on the breast, and stop it from projecting.”

Maryam who said she had practiced breast ironing on two of her daughters, added that other methods can also be used in the practice.

“Most people prefer to wrap very tight elastic bandages around the chest of their daughters overnight, but that system usually keeps the girls very uncomfortable,” she said. “For my daughters, I used hot coconut shells or heated stones to flatten their breasts.”

Breast ironing is less common in Cameroon’s northern region where the population is primarily Muslim. As of 2011, less than one tenth of adolescent girls in the region had undergone the procedure, according to GEED statistics. But now that may be changing as the presence of jihadist group, Boko Haram in the far north seems to be creating an upsurge in the practice.

One Cameroonian mother, who recently began breast ironing procedures on her daughter, told me in Ikom, where she came to buy goods, that she was carrying out the practice in an attempt to make her child less attractive to Boko Haram members who have been abducting adolescent girls and forcing them into marriage.

“I live in Tiko in the southwest but my daughter schools in Maroua in the far north where terrible things happen, and I won’t take chances,” she said. “If they [Boko Haram] don’t see her breast, they won’t think she has come of age.”

Another Cameroonian lady who was in Ikom for trade said she and her sister carried out breast ironing procedures on each of their two daughters, because militants were abducting girls in Maroua where they lived.

“We didn’t want our daughters to be taken to the Sambisa forest,” the lady who gave her name as Agathe said. “It wasn’t just us. Many women did it on their daughters for the same reason.”

In Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State, where Boko Haram was founded, a member of the state’s main vigilante group who spoke to The Daily Beast said some girls who fled the war in the far north of Cameroon into border towns in Borno told members of his group that the breast ironing procedure was carried out on them by their parents when the jihadists began to abduct adolescent girls in the region.

“We’ve spoken to a few girls who said their parents ironed their breasts so that they will appear less attractive to Boko Haram militants,” Abass Bashir of the Civilian Joint Task Force vigilante group, which works closely with government forces in Borno, said. “Some of them said they still feel terrible pain on their breasts and around the chest region.”

Parents in Cameroon’s far north region have grown increasingly scared of seeing their adolescent daughters develop breasts, especially since it was widely reported in February that eight girls between the ages of 11 and 14 were abducted close to the border with Nigeria, almost the same time rumors that the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls had been married off to Boko Haram militants spread like wild fire in far north Cameroon.

“Some girls said their parents kept reminding them of the eight kidnapped girls and the missing Chibok girls as a way of convincing them to undergo the procedure,” Bashir said. “Their parents told them that these girls would not have been abducted if they hadn’t developed breasts.”

Until Boko Haram began to create a base in the far north, breast ironing was hardly spoken about in the predominantly Muslim region, perhaps as a result of the high rate of early marriage, which eliminates the need to maintain illusions of a girl’s youth. Now, locals say parents are talking themselves into carrying out the practice on their daughters.

“I visited a compound in Mokolo where every girl had undergone the procedure,” said Musa Oumarou another of Cameroon’s hundreds of traders visiting Ikom daily. “A woman whose daughter narrowly escaped Boko Haram capture started the procedure on her lucky child and then convinced her neighbors to carry out the same act on their daughters.”

But just as parents try to prevent abductions and eventual marriages to deadly militants in far north Cameroon, many girls in the region, in an attempt to escape early marriage, try to flatten their own breasts so they can delay their sexual maturity and continue going to school.

Children’s rights activists in Cameroon have for a long time carried out nationwide awareness campaigns in schools, churches and across media outlets aimed at drawing attention to the harmful physical and psychological consequences of breast ironing, a practice which was done mainly in secret until it was exposed to the international community in 2006. But in spite of their efforts, millions of girls are still victims of the horrific tradition.

Health workers believe better hygiene, nutrition and healthcare means that girls are attaining puberty early. A 2011 social and demographic health survey conducted in Cameroon showed that between 20 to 30 percent of Cameroonian girls get pregnant before their 16th birthday, and a third abandon schooling.
Grace became pregnant at the age of 15, but sadly lost her child during childbirth.

She said breast ironing is even more painful than childbirth, and that it did nothing to prevent her from getting pregnant before marriage.

“The whole practice was useless after all,” she said. “Rather than teach, breast ironing kills. My mother should have taught me sex education, rather she let this evil practice devastate me.”

credit: PM News

If it came down to love, would you change your religion?

 A lot of people face this issue in their relationship, and it’s such a touchy subject so most people sweep it under the rug.  
The most difficult thing to do while in love is to leave your love for what you love.
When we’re born we don’t know what we believe in, our parents teach us and raise us to believe in what they think we should believe in so its natural for us to follow this same path once we grow up. 
I have a friend that is in a relationship with someone that has a different religion then her, she doesn’t want their future children to believe in what he believes in so she’s faced with the decision to stay or leave. 
What would you do if this were you? If this was me I don’t know what I would do, do I leave the love of my life because we have different views or do I stay and live a different lifestyle from him.
- DonTBone 

Every year, the United Nations holds a summit on climate change, where it works to persuade countries large and small to give up fossil fuels. This annual gathering, now in its 21st year, is called the Conference of the Parties, COP21 and it began yesterday in Paris. 

Vogue magazine photographed the 13 women on the frontline  fighting climate change right now at the Conference of Parties;  and our Minister of Environment Amina Mohammed is one of them. 

Kim Kardashian's sister Kendall Jenner took to her IG page to show her support and also asked her fans to follow the minister.

 Kylie Jenner launched her latest line of lip glosses at the Dash Boutique in West Hollywood on Monday. The 18-year-old showed off her emerald green hair and stepped out in matching outfits with her father Caitlyn Jenner for the event.

See more photos..

He's been trying to get her for years and she still doesn't want to give it up.

What are your thoughts?

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof. Our God has been faithful, guys.

Like play, like play, today is December 1st, 2015, the first day of the last month of the year. Here's what I asked of God on behalf of all of us this morning:

As we have witnessed today, every thing that is remaining to be accomplished in our lives this year,
we shall possess before the year runs out in Jesus' name.......

 All our blessings that are hanging anywhere, they all will descend on us this December, in Jesus' name....

May December leave us with great testimonies to remember. If there's going to be any news concerning you or your loved ones, it shall be good news only in Jesus name......

Can you cope with all these this December?

Joy! Unspeakable Favour!

It will be a loaded month for you!

Weave in faith and God will find the thread this December, guys.

Happy New Month!!!!

One Emmanuel Onuche has dragged the Nigerian Bottling Company before the National Industrial Court in Lagos, seeking N110m compensation for allegedly becoming blind in the course of duty.

Onuche claimed to have been involved in an industrial accident on May 31, 2013, in the NBC plant in Ikeja, Lagos State, during which he sustained caustic soda burns, rendering him completely blind in both eyes.

He alleged that the injury was due to non-provision of safety wears by the company for its

Onuche claimed to be working in the Quality Assurance Department of the NBC as a contract staff member when the accident occurred.

He alleged that since May 31, 2013, when the incident happened at the NBC plant in Ikeja, the company had failed to pay him any compensation.

He also accused the NBC of ignoring a letter which he wrote through a lawyer, Ali Abba, demanding his financial compensation so he could urgently go for an eye surgery before he became completely blind.

He further alleged that he was sacked, while his N20,000 monthly salary was stopped because he demanded to be given financial compensation.

According to him, his suit before the industrial court followed a letter dated August 18, 2015, which he wrote to the Directorate of Citizens’ Rights, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, requesting legal representation.

Joined as defendants in the suit are the Nigerian Bottling Company Limited and Coca-Cola Limited.

Onuche is seeking an order, “compelling the defendants to immediately pay the claimant the sum of N100m as insurance claims and compensation for the industrial accident in which he sustained caustic soda burns in both eyes rendering him blind as a result of poor safety procedures during his normal schedule as a contract staff member in the Quality Assurance Department of the defendants.”

The claimant is also seeking “special damages in the sum of N10m on the grounds of trauma and pains of disabilities due to caustic soda burns in both eyes rendering him blind as a result of poor factory safety procedures.”

The defendants have yet to file any reply to the claimant’s suit, PUNCH reports.


Oya, why do you people keep on ignoring security guards? Jerry is waiting for your replies. lmao.

Like seriously, no be small fight o. Mercy threw caution to the wind and went ballistic on her follower just some hours ago after the young lady abused her for posting a collage of herself and her 14-year-old daughter and asked her fans to choose whose selfie was better.

According to the fan, Mercy is exposing her underage child to a filthy world that she should be protected from. Mercy at her own end lashed out that if she doesn't flaunt her own child, is it the moron in the name of her IG follower that she should flaunt? Their heated drama continues after the cut. Hope you are ready to read curses!

Supermodel and former Miss World Agbani Darego is not letting negative comments about her body get to her. Just yesterday, she shared this photo of herself all ready and set to leave for an event only for some trolls to fire back that she should add some weight. 

The model deleted the nasty comments and has now posted a short note on her IG page to trolls who made them. Read what she wrote after the cut.