HARMFUL TRADITIONAL AND CULTURAL PRACTICES IN NIGERIA
Tolulope Monisola OLA (PhD)
Department of Sociology,
Faculty of the Social Sciences,
Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti,
Ekiti State, Nigeria.
Cell phone: +234 8139389466
Table of Contents
3. Main Contents
4. Meaning of Harmful Traditional and Cultural Practices in Nigeria 5. Different Types of Harmful Traditional and Cultural Practices in Nigeria 6. Consequences of Harmful Traditional and Cultural Practices 7. Measures to Prevent and Stop Harmful Traditional and Cultural Practices in Nigeria 8. Conclusion
At the end of this unit, the students should be able to:
Explain the meaning of harmful traditional and cultural practices in Nigeria Describe the different types of harmful traditional and cultural practices in Nigeria. Discuss the consequences of harmful traditional and cultural practices in Nigeria. Suggest measures to prevent and eradicate harmful traditional and cultural practices in Nigeria.
Definition of Harmful Traditional and Cultural Practices in Nigeria Traditional and Cultural Practices in Nigeria reflect values and beliefs held by members of a particular community for periods often spanning generations. Every social grouping in the country and globally has specific traditional and cultural practices and beliefs, some of which are beneficial to all members, while others are harmful to specific group such as women and children. Harmful Traditional and Cultural Practices can be defined as practices that are harmful in nature (“harm” is discussed in terms of health, or expansively, in terms of human rights violation), which persist despite their harmful nature because they are not questioned. It is time honoured and is characterized by custom and routine which is handed down from generation to generation.
In every culture, important practices exist which celebrate life-cycle transitions, perpetuates community cohesion, or transmits traditional values to subsequent generations. These traditions reflect norms of care and behaviour based on age, life stage, gender, and social class. While many traditions promote social cohesion and unity, others erode the physical and psychological health and integrity of individuals, particularly girls and women. Factors such as limited access to education, information, and services allow those that may be most harmful to persist (Lauren Hersh, 1998).
Harmful traditions exist in many different forms, but they share origins in the historically unequal social and economic relationships between men and women. Efforts to alter or eradicate these practices are often met with suspicion or hostility from those communities practicing them, particularly when efforts originate from outside the community. For many members of these societies, ending their traditions is unimaginable; as such practices constitute an integral part of the socio-cultural fabric.
Different types of Harmful Traditional and Cultural Practices in Nigeria The following is a non-exhaustive, illustrative list of harmful traditional and cultural practices which have been identified in various reports and debates: Female genital mutilation/cutting
Early and forced child marriage
Sex selective abortions
Stoning of women
Denouncing of children as witches or possessed by evil spirits A wide range of initiation ceremonies
Out of all these practices in Nigeria, there are three that have received global scrutiny. These include Female Genital Mutilation, Son Preference and Early and Forced Child Marriage. These will be discussed fully. Female Genital Mutilation: The World Health Organization defines “Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as all procedures...
References: Arebi, Y. (2007). Nigeria: Female Circumcision: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? The Human Angle, Vanguard
Carole Agengo (2009) Harmful Traditional Practices in Europe: Judicial Interventions. Expert Paper Produced for the United Nations for the Expert group Meeting on good Practices in Legislation to address Harmful Practices against Women, United Nations Conference Centre, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 25 – 28 May, 2009.
Lauren Hersh (1998) Giving up Harmful practices, Not Culture. Available at www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/52/? task = view
Norwegian Country of Origin Information, Centre (Landinfo) (3 August 2010) Nigeria. Kjnnslemestelseav kvinner (English: Female Genital Mutilation).
UNHCHR, Fact Sheet No. 23, Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, Available at www.ohchr.org/documents/publications/factsheet 23en.pdf
UNICEF (2005). Early Marriage: A harmful traditional Practice: A Statistical Exploration, N.Y, USA.
UNFPA (2006). In ending child marriage, A guide for global policy action International Planned Parenthood Federation and the forum on Marriage and the Rights of Women and Girls, U.K.
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