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Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria - Culture - Nairaland

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[must Read] 10 Barbaric Practices That Still Exist In Nigeria Today / What Aspects Of Our Nigerian Culture Should Be Abolished? / Evil Or Dirty Nigerian Cultures That Should Be Abolished (1) (2) (3) (4)

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Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 12:49am On Oct 26, 2008
This topic has been much talked about so I created a thread to throw light on this.
It must be noted that sometimes these practices may be rare or just restricted to certain areas but they nevertheless are still there.
This is ugly,the outcome of our traditional and native beliefs before the advent of Christianity but sadly these practices still exist in some quarters.
When a woman loses her husband, a civilised soceity should rally round to support her and her children.
Causing her more pain than she's already going through at the death of the breadwinner is just plain evil.
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 12:51am On Oct 26, 2008
North West - Kano state area.


In this part of the country, inheritance issue are according to Islamic injunctions. The widow observes the Takaba i.e a four-month, ten-day mourning period in seclusion talking to no one and sitting in a place. However, there are accounts of widows who are barred:
"(a) From leaving the room where the corpse was laid: sleeping on a comfortable bed; (b) taking a normal route to the toilet; (c) observing personal hygiene; (d) wearing long hair; (e) moving about; (f) taking normal bath; (g) seeing the inside of the grave (h) eating pounded yam; and (i) fowl, goat meat, " 16



After the mourning, a widow is free to remarry within or outside the family. On the issue of inheritance, the manner in which the property of the deceased is shared is explicitly stated in the Qur'an. However, human factors, especially the relationship of the widow to her in-laws, education of the apportioning parties and cultural leanings have brought about injustices in property sharing
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 12:54am On Oct 26, 2008
NORTH CENTRAL - BENUE STATE

The burial practice here is that, the man is buried almost immediately he dies. The widow is restricted to one place, however, if she is still within childbearing age, she is restricted to one room. She cannot go to the toilet unaccompanied; neither can she go to the farm to get food, even for her children.

Among the Etulo people, a widow is confined in mourning for three months during which it would be confirmed if she is pregnant or not. Her only attire is a piece of cloth called bento, which has a ritual object ascribed to it. This cloth is tied round the waist of the deceased man, and the widow now wears it as a symbol of her intimate relationship with the late husband. It is also believed that, this bento deters the widow from any act o ", flirtation or promiscuity before she is culturally freed from widowhood." 15. After the three months of mourning, she prepares for the outing ceremony. Her hair is shaved during this period and, she exchanges the bento for a white dress, which, she also stops wearing after outing ceremony. On the issue of inheritance, the Etulo are a matrilineal society. A barren widow has no rights to any of her late husband's property. Even where the widows have children, the property still goes to the maternal relationships who may out of good will and pity give part of it to his children.

Among the Idomas, the widow mourns for at least one year wearing sackcloth. She performs the cleansing/outing ceremony with the help of her age grade (peers) at he end of the mourning period. This done, she is free to remarry either within or outside of the family. In Idoma land, the late man's property belongs to his relations.
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by BabyJinx: 12:59am On Oct 26, 2008
Oh my word! You this woman you are a mind reader!!!!!! I was just getting ready to post something like this!! I hope you don't mind if I did it here. . .
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 1:00am On Oct 26, 2008
SOUTH SOUTH -EDO STATE

In Bini land, widowhood rights are in two stages. First, the widow is confined to a room outside the family house for seven days immediately after the interment of the deceased husband. She is dressed in black with her hair left unkempt and, she is not allowed to take her bath. She must look mournful and sober and must cry, morning and evening. On the seventh day, a wake keeping ceremony is held and the widow is forbidden (by custom) to sleep because, the spirit of the dead man will come around and kill her if she is found sleeping! On the same day, she perform the semi-purification rites by taking her bath around 4.am at a road junction (all alone). Her safe return proves her innocence.

The Second stage of mourning begins at the end of the seventh day. The widow smears herself and her clothing with black charcoal and remains so for three months. At the end of the third month, the final purification, which admits her into the society, is performed. On inheritance, both the widow and property are inheritable objects.

Among the Esan, the practice is almost the same but for some little differences. During the seven days of mourning, the widow carries an Ikhmin, which is a many sided plant which is used to wade off evil spirit. She is also forbidden to sleep on the night preceding the seventh day because, it is believed that, the husband will visit and carry her away if she sleeps! A widow in Esan however, takes ", her bath in the night at a burial ground or at some obscure or isolated spot, " 14 and she shoots an arrow into the bush afterwards, to deter the late husband from coming near her again.

Throughout the three months mourning period, a pot containing some leaves believed to wade off evil, is left burning on the stove. The widow performs the purification rites after three months, which includes her hair, being shaved. On inheritance, a wife cannot inherit, rather; she is part of the "objects" to be inherited.

In Agenebode land, women here have different status/order of birth. A woman is either Amoya, a title that is highly respected and cherished because in marriage, she is given out totally or, she is Adegbe, a title that allows the woman to stay in her father's house even after marriage. Northing is done is her father's house without consulting her. As a result of these differences, varying degree of rights and privileges are given to them.

When an Amoya is widowed, one of her sister-in-law who is an Adebge will assist her to wear a white hand woven pant. This she wears for one whole year without washing or changing. She stays indoors and can't even go to the market or church. Her hair is scraped and, she is in total seclusion wearing only black. By virtue of her birth, she remains in her husband's house for life. If she accepts toe be inherited, she performs the purification right to legitimize the transfer. If she does not want to be inherited, she performs another rite to appease the family's ancestors. Her son inherits the property of the deceased if she happens to have the first son, this does not however transfer ownership of the property to her.

The situation is different, when an Adebge is widowed. She does not go through all the rites an Amoya goes through.

Her hair and that of her children is scraped on the fifth day after the death. Wearing of black is her choice and her movement is not restricted for one day, she goes about her normal business. The issue of inheritance does not arise for her because, she goes back to her father's house as soon as the man dies though, she is free to stay (if she so desires), without any obligation to the family of the late husband. If she is the mother of the first son, he inherits all his father's property.
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by PepERSprAY: 1:01am On Oct 26, 2008
You people are just spreading rumors. This practices did exist back in the days but are almost in extinction now. I bet you most Tiv people in this age and time do not know anything about them.
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 1:01am On Oct 26, 2008
Baby Jinx:

Oh my word! You this woman you are a mind reader!!!!!! I was just getting ready to post something like this!! I hope you don't mind if I did it here. . .

Go ahead sweetie.
I have heard so many sick practices and got angered and moved beyond tribe since this is a crime against women of all tribes.
This is simply sick.
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by BabyJinx: 1:02am On Oct 26, 2008
Like OP said, We’ve all gone back and forth for the past day or two talking about which tribe makes their widow drink bath water, which one makes the sleep with the corpse and which ones run around Unclad for seven days. . . and even though we can’t say conclusively how many widows have eaten poopoo, there is no deny we have a problem. . . Nigeria, I mean and luckily there are people on the case but it doesn’t mean we can’t join in.


Campaign against harmful widowhood practices
In November 1998 Communicating for Change produced a 30-minute documentary Till Death Do Us Part, an exposé on the dehumanising treatment three women endure at the death of their husbands. The film was shown in Paris during the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights’ celebrations.

In certain parts of Nigeria, the maltreatment of widows is common. In-laws and the community subject them to physical and emotional abuses such as being made to sit on the floor; being confined from a month to one year; having their hair literally scraped off with razors or broken bottles; not being allowed to bathe; being made to routinely weep in public; being forced to drink the water used to wash their husband’s corpse; crowned by the loss of inheritance rights and eviction. CFC felt that it was important to launch the film in Nigeria as part of an entire campaign to stop harmful widowhood practices.

With support from the Norwegian Human Rights Fund and the Ford Foundation, CFC organized a national tour of the film in November 1999. “Till Death Do Us Part” was shown in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Enugu accompanied by panel discussions. Because widows under Muslim law suffer less, and widowhood problems are predominantly a southern and eastern problem in Nigeria, the project did not include any screenings in northern Nigeria. However, a national bus campaign ensured that the coverage wasn’t limited to just these three cities. Over 45,000 people from different backgrounds viewed the film while travelling cross-country on Nigeria’s three largest bus transporters – Chisco, Ekeson and ABC. They also received a brochure while buying their bus tickets.

In Lagos the film was introduced to an enthusiastic audience at the Muson Centre. They listened attentively as a panel of five discussed negative aspects of the treatment of widows and the need for change. One of the commentators reminded the audience that every female was a potential widow since 67% of women outlive their husbands. Some suggestions made during the discussion included men writing legally viable wills before their deaths and wives attaining some type of economic independence from their husbands.

In Port Harcourt, a place where harmful widowhood practices are rife, the audience suggested that widows should seek protection from existing laws that relate to the brutal acts practiced upon them. The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), whose director Mrs. Elsie Thompson participated in the panel discussion, gave the audience good legal advice.

The Enugu audience insisted that the discrimination of women by women needs to be stopped, as it is often the wives within the extended family who carry out the harmful practices.  They also suggested that the abuse of widows was a by-product of the high bride price placed on women, encouraging the perception that wives are  “purchased property”.

Numerous organizations such as the Women, Law and Development Centre, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Youth Development, and the Widows Development Organisation assisted CFC on the panel. A number of widows gave moving testimonies on how they overcame the challenges of widowhood and have healed their lives. The awareness raised pushed government agencies to renew their commitment to addressing this important issue on the national agenda and the traditional widowhood laws in Asaba, one of the towns where the film was shot, have been reviewed.

Site Link
Campaign against harmful widowhood practices

There is 30 min video on the site. . . if you have RealPlayer, I highly recommend you watch because honestly, if you do, you’ll stop seeing it as Adana’s issue or Alake’s wahala or Amina’s problem but as[b] A NIGERIAN WOMAN’S PROBLEM[/b]

1 Like

Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 1:03am On Oct 26, 2008
PepERSprAY:

You people are just spreading rumors. This practices did exist back in the days but are almost in extinction now. I bet you most Tiv people in this age and time do not know anything about them.

My dear,even if it's just .5% of them that do it, that should still make it a sick practice.
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by PepERSprAY: 1:06am On Oct 26, 2008
My dear,even if it's just .5% of them that do it, that should still make it a sick practice.
Something becomes a practice if it's generally done by the people by over 50% margin. Culture is defined as a peoples way of life and it is dynamic because it changes everyday. If that is the case, armed robbery can be imbibed as our culture. If a yoruba man is caught Molesting a woman, it becomes yoruba culture; If igbo man is caught in armed robbery, it becomes an ibo culture etc.
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 1:07am On Oct 26, 2008
SOUTHEAST -ANAMBRA STATE

In Ogidi town, in Idemili L.G.A., the mourning period is one year during which time, the widow is restricted to the house where she sits on the bare floor for four weeks and her hair is scraped. She is not allowed to talk, laugh, shake hands or greet people, bake cook. Her attire is called "Ogodo upa, that is, "mud cloth" After seven weeks, she removes the "mud cloth" and wears "the ikpim, that is, a pitch black mourning dress" for the rest of the year. Peculiar to this people is the "etum afa, that is "praise naming" which the widow performs (mandatory) three times a day.

In Nanka town, Orumba L.G.A. the only peculiarity of this people is that the widow is forbidden to see the corpse of her husband. Christianity or not, ", any widow who contravenes this customs laterality ceases to exist, She neither buys from nor sell to any other member of the community. All men run away from her, She is avoided like death, , " . In Ogbunka town, still in Orumba South L.G.A., a widow is secluded behind the house immediately the husband dies. The Umuada force her to observe the routine wailing from morning till night for many days. This widow is in turn expected to provide the oku awa i.e. yam meal with a chicken, for the Umuada (on daily basis).

In Ezira and Nawfija, "the widow is put in a cage" She is allowed to sit on a mat or mattress inside her "cage" though she does not sleep there. According to these people, the widow is ", most vulnerable to physical pains inflicted on her by vicious mourners, who are in the habit of throwing their whole weight on the victim, in the guise of deep sympathy." The widow wears either black or white for seven months at the end of which, she wears another dress for the remaining five months that is neither black nor white.

In Akili-Ogidi town, in Ogbaru L.G.A., widowhood practice is the same as in Ogidi town except that, "the widow does here evening crying shift through the onu ntapa, that is, a chink in the wall. She must also be facing the west, throughout the first twenty eight days after the burial, " Because of civilization however, the working class widow is allowed to return to work after the short bereavement leave granted her. However, no widow is allowed to step out of her husbands compound on her own feet. She mut be", carried by a man out of the compound to, The road, to take transport to her destination."
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 1:08am On Oct 26, 2008
PepERSprAY:

Something becomes a practice if it's generally done by the people by over 50% margin. Culture is defined as a peoples way of life and it is dynamic because it changes everyday. If that is the case, armed robbery can be imbibed as our culture. If a yoruba man is caught Molesting a woman, it becomes yoruba culture; If igbo man is caught in armed robbery, it becomes an ibo culture etc.

That was my original arguments.
But who wants to be that "Insignificant number"
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by BabyJinx: 1:09am On Oct 26, 2008
PepERSprAY:

You people are just spreading rumors. This practices did exist back in the days but are almost in extinction now. I bet you most Tiv people in this age and time do not know anything about them.

Deepzone, I have not said this to anyone before or at least not out loud but for you, I don't mind breaking the rule. . . . SHUT THE Bleep UP!!!

Spreading rumors? From You? You must be out of your feeble mind. Who is quick to open threads on hearsay? No data to prove anything. . . all we get is a friend of my friend who lives in our boys quarters. You can say we start rumors? My God! Woman, what is going on in that head of yours? Are you just smarting because having REAL PROOF throws a wrench in your "plucking things out of my head and running with it" way of doing things? Abeg, go sit back and read. . . hopefully, you will get something out of it. I doubt it but what's life without hope.

I am soo done with you!
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 1:11am On Oct 26, 2008
SOUTHWEST -ONDO STATE
When a husband dies, the widow goes into confinement for seven days. During this period she is not allowed to go out, even to the toilet or, take her bath. On the seventh day, her head is shaved to sever the bond between her and the dead husband. She also keeps a vigil and appears very sorrowful by wailing and crying profusely. If she fails to mourn, it is believed that "she may become mentally deranged, or forfeit the right to any benefit." 5. After this, she goes into mourning proper, which is for a period of three months. During mourning, she is to be of impeccable behavior so that her late husband's spirit may gain quick entry into the community of his ancestral spirits. The widow is not expected to court, leave the family, go away with the children, or look in the mirror for fear of seeing the deceased. Until recently, she was not allowed to sit on the bed.

This period is also used to ascertain whether the widow is pregnant or not. At the end of three months, she performs the outing ceremony. She is then free to remarry into the family. A widow may however, refuse to be inherited even if her late husbands's family want it so likewise, a man may equally refuse to inherit his late brother's wife. In ondo, as in other Yoruba land, property belongs to the wife/wives and the children of the deceased. It is shared as Ori o ju ori i.e equally among the children (including girls), or as Idi'ig i.e equally among the wives (were the man has more than one wife), though, the eventual

beneficiaries are the children. Where the widow has no child, she may not get any thing from her husband's property. It reverts back to his family.
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by PepERSprAY: 1:12am On Oct 26, 2008
Deepzone, I have not said this to anyone before or at least not out loud but for you, I don't mind breaking the rule. . . . SHUT THE mess UP!!!

Spreading rumors? From You? You must be out of your feeble mind. Who is quick to open threads on hearsay? No data to prove anything. . . all we get is a friend of my friend who lives in our boys quarters. You can say we start rumors? My God! Woman, what is going on in that head of yours? Are you just smarting because having REAL PROOF throws a wrench in your "plucking things out of my head and running with it" way of doing things? Abeg, go sit back and read. . . hopefully, you will get something out of it. I doubt it but what's life without hope.

I am soo done with you!
So many angry Jews on this site. they will never understand Erelu no matter how hard they try. lipsrsealed
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by BabyJinx: 1:17am On Oct 26, 2008
O wa lara eh. Continue
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 1:23am On Oct 26, 2008
And as though the woman hasn't suffered enough humiliating treatments,she's inherited by the late husband's brother or even son (not her child)


Levirate marriage, where a "family member inherits a married woman whose husband is dead" (Bamgbose July 2002, 13), continues to be practiced under various customary law systems in Nigeria (AI 31 May 2005, 8; Center for Reproductive Rights 2003, 84). A May 2005 Amnesty International (AI) report states that

[s]ome customary law systems , prescribe that a widow [be] 'inherited' by a male relative of the former husband. The widow is seen as the property of the former husband's family. Families that migrate to Lagos continue to apply such customary rules to their relationships, even after they have moved away from their traditional areas of origin (31 May 2005, cool.

Described as "degrading and harmful," (Bamgbose July 2002, 13), the practice of levirate marriage has been identified as one of the leading causes of the spread of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (UN 2004, 13).

Levirate marriage is considered a custom of the Yoruba, the Igbo, and the Hausa-Fulani and continues to be practiced in rural communities (Bamgbose July 2002, 13). However, increased education and urbanization are thought to have reduced this practice (ibid.). It is also thought that women in Nigeria who have greater economic independence are less likely to accept a levirate marriage (Ewelukwa May 2002, 438)

.http://www.cisr-irb.gc.ca/en/research/rir/?action=record.viewrec&gotorec=449978
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by BabyJinx: 1:26am On Oct 26, 2008
Widowhood Practices cross borders, please don't think it only happens in Nigeria or just Africa for the matter.

Here is a UN article which talks about how widows are treated in Asia, South America, other African Countries, etc. (it's in PDF)

Widowhood:Invisible Women, Secluded or Excluded
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by PepERSprAY: 1:27am On Oct 26, 2008
It's worse in Asia
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by BabyJinx: 1:31am On Oct 26, 2008
plus_Queen:

That was my original arguments.
But who wants to be that "Insignificant number"

It is appalling! You need to watch that video, I was listening with my mouth open. Don't get me wrong, I knew about some petty, petty practices but I didn't know of the other. . . very WICKED practice. Honestly, I feel like beating somebody down! What Rubbish? All because they are women and they married men? Ay!!
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by PepERSprAY: 1:33am On Oct 26, 2008
Thats why your game must be tight when you get married. i don't trust men and will never trust them
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by BabyJinx: 1:43am On Oct 26, 2008
PepERSprAY:

Thats why your game must be tight when you get married. i don't trust men and will never trust them
It's not even about having a tight game before marriage (which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND ANY WOMAN do), it's about respect or lack there of, for a human Being. 

This is so inhumane, any one who has ever subjected a woman to this, should be. . . I can't even think of a good, satisfactory punishment. I don't want death, nah,  . death is to easy, I want a long lasting, painful, very, very painful punishment. 

My God! There are animals treated better than this!! angry angry
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by KarmaMod(f): 1:48am On Oct 26, 2008
all we get is a friend of my friend who lives in our boys quarters

grin

and when did you become a Jew

WHY AM I OUTTA THE LOOP
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 1:55am On Oct 26, 2008
@ babyjinx do you mean 3 min clip?
I saw that.
the widow is starved until the husband is buried.
This is so unnacceptable and the annoying part is that these punishments are metted out by fellow women in the community.
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by BabyJinx: 2:01am On Oct 26, 2008
KarmaMod:

grin

and when did you become a Jew

WHY AM I out of THE LOOP

Lmao! Abokijewruba. . . that's me, baby! grin


plus_Queen:

@ babyjinx do you mean 3 min clip?
I saw that.
the widow is starved until the husband is buried.
This is so unnacceptable and the annoying part is that these punishments are metted out by fellow women in the community.

I tell ya, we women are our own worse enemy!!!
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 2:14am On Oct 26, 2008
A 75 year old widow recounts her experience when she lost her husband in 1978;


I was ordered home from Lagos to explain the cause of his death. After I had narrated everything to them (in-laws), they asked for his pass book (bank savings book) and other valuable items which I gave over to them"23.


A second informant, a 35 year old widow and mother of 4, noted;


Our entire property was confiscated. A lorry was sent from home to come and pack all the merchandise in his supermarket. All his electronic items were also packed away. For the past year the house has been like a battle ground between me and them[24].


the widows ordeal begin immediately the death of her husband is announced. The in-laws demand a list of the man's property, holdings, investments, bank accounts etc. She is further required to take an oath as a proof that she has not concealed any relevant information on her husband's wealth"[25]

http://www.ub.uib.no/elpub/1996/h/506001/korieh/chima-Chapter-2.html
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 2:19am On Oct 26, 2008
Another widow recounted her experience;


Each mourning after the burial, my mother in-law took me out to the back of the house. I had a bath with very cold water. This was done very early in the morning when it was still very cold. As she did this, customs demanded that I must be crying and calling my husband the name I used to call him when he was alive. This lasted for four days. I stayed at home for the next three months mourning him without going out[35].
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 2:24am On Oct 26, 2008
A second informant stated;


In fact several kinds of dehumanising treatments were meted out to me. Before my husband was buried, I was locked up with his corpse for three hours with the belief that if I killed him, I would die there. I was then forced to sleep in the grave yard for two days after his burial to finally convince them I did not kill my husband[41]
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by Nobody: 2:25am On Oct 26, 2008
One of my mom's friends had this kind of dilemma. Her in-laws wanted to confiscate their deceased brother's property. The woman hired the police. During the burial ceremonies, none of the in-laws could do anything. silly people!!! lipsrsealed
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 2:34am On Oct 26, 2008
June 1997, the Anglican Bishop of Ikale/Ilaje Diocese in Onto State criticized "the practice of forcing widows to marry the relatives of their husbands" and said "that the church had no fundamental objection to the practice of inheriting a widow, but objected to compelling a woman into it" (ibid. 6 June 1997). In March 1999, the chairman of the Bayelsa State Family Support Programme (FSP) stated that the FSP "in conjunction with some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), had embarked on a series of campaigns to stem some obnoxious practices against womanhood, such as genital mutilation, widowhood practices and early marriage. … She advised widows in the state, whose relatives were being forced to marry relations of their dead husbands, to use the services of the legal aid council" (Post Express 24 Mar. 1999).
http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/topic,463af2212,469f2ea82,3ae6ad6e64,0.html
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by plusQueen: 2:36am On Oct 26, 2008
stillwater:

One of my mom's friends had this kind of dilemma. Her in-laws wanted to confiscate their deceased brother's property. The woman hired the police. During the burial ceremonies, none of the in-laws could do anything. silly people!!! lipsrsealed

In Ohafia in Abia state,the woman is left with nothing not even the house her husband built.
She and her children are basically kicked out
His brothers get everything he owned.
Re: Wicked Widowhood Practices That Must Be Abolished In Nigeria by BabyJinx: 2:41am On Oct 26, 2008
I don’t know why feel some non-Nigerians are reading these threads and shaking their going “Ughh! Just look at them, Barbaric Nigerian”, I know, I know it is silly paranoia with a dash of arrogance, like who has time to be reading Nigerian Forums, right?

Okay, fine, I agree. . . . but just in case some foreigner is reading, know this -  The government is not complacent, some states have passed laws against this, states like Enugu.


Nigeria: the prohibition of infringement of a widow's and widower's fundamental rights law, 2001, No 3, Enugu State - Reports From Around the World: Africa - Brief Article

A LAW TO MAKE IT UNLAWFUL TO INFRINGE THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF WIDOWS AND WIDOWERS, AND FOR OTHER RELATED MATTERS
ENACTED BY THE ENUGU STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, THIS 8TH MARCH, 2001


PROHIBITION

(1) "No person for whatever purpose or reason shall compel a widow/widower as follows:

(a) to permit the hairs on the head or any other part of the body to be shaved;

(b) to sleep either alone or on the some bed or be locked in a room with corpse of the husband

c) not to receive condolence visits from sympathisers during the period of mourning

(d) to be re-married by a relative of the late husband

(e) to sit on the floor or be Unclad during any period of the husband's/ burial rite

(f) to drink the water used in washing the corpse of the husband/

(g) to weep and wail loudly at intervals at any time after the death of the husband/ except at ones own volition or involuntary action;

(h) to remain in confinement after the death of the husband for any given period;

(i) to vacate the matrimonial home;

(j) to do any other thing which contravenes the fundamental rights entrenched in the Constitution or is degrading the person.

(2) A widow shall not be dispossessed upon the death of the husband of any property acquired by the deceased husband/wife (during the deceased husband's/wife's life time) without his/her consent.

PENALTY: It shall be unlawful for any widow/widower or any person to falsely allege that the rights guaranteed under this law have been violated

JURISDICTION: Anybody who contravenes, conspires, aids, counsels, procures, or assists another person to contravene the provisions of this Law shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine N5,000 (Five thousand naira) or two years imprisonment or both

APPEAL: The Magistrate Court shall have jurisdiction to try summarily any offence under this law.


"During 2001 a series of meetings and workshops were organized by WiDO to make the bill known and to discuss and disseminate the information about its enactment."

WIDOWHOOD PRACTICES: THE CASE OF ENUGU STATE (NIGERIA)

FROM THE FOREWORD:
"Although both the widow and the widower experience basically equal pains for the death of the partner, the Nigerian widow suffers many deprivations, some of which are inhuman, barbaric and uncouth. This discriminatory and parochial approach in the practice of widowhood in Nigeria destabilizes and vexes Nigerian women and rightly so. Apart from the fact that the discriminatory practice violates the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the traditional practices are a taboo in the civilised world and should not find a place in any decent society,  It is difficult for a human being in this day and age to believe that a wife is forced to drink the water used in bathing the corpse of her husband, all in the name of custom, as told by Mrs. Agnes lloegbunam. This and other widowhood practices are repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience and should be thrown out from society as they do much harm to womanhood.

Although the book tells the pathetic story of the experiences of Enugu State widows, it is known that widows in other States in the country suffer from similar situations,  Nigerian women should continue in the struggle for complete eradication of the present obnoxious widowhood practices. The first step towards achieving total freedom is education,  Congratulations to the Enugu State Widows Welfare Committee on a successful campaign!

Niki Tobi, Justice, Court of Appeal & Professor of Law."

For more information Contact: Medical Women's Association of Nigeria Centre, 29 Abakaliki Rd, G.R.A, Enugu, NIGERIA.

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