There are many traditional practices in Nigeria. Even if Nigeria is a part of the civilized world with modern economy and society, some tribes still prefer to live according to the ancient customs. Still, these traditions can be violent and unethical for the modern world. According to the Anti Child Abuse Society in Nigeria, many harmful cultural practices work directly against children. Should these traditions be stopped as the relics of the past?
African tribes have many dangerous traditions. One of the most problematic questions for this region of the planet is violence against children and women. They usually become victims of harmful traditional practices in Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa and many other countries of Africa.
Top 20 Harmful traditional practices in Nigeria
“Efidan” is one of the types of harmful traditional incision. Efidan translates as cutting. This tradition is still used in the rural areas of Nigeria. For the tribes, cutting is a part of adolescent traditions. Parents usually cut their children when they reach puberty. For women, scars needed to decorate their body and be more sexually appeal to men. For men, scars and cuttings serve the same purpose, and through them, they show that they are ready to take responsibility for a family.
The problem is that cuttings are made by people who knows nothing about medicine or by children themselves, which leads to the blood loss and even death. Moreover, instruments for cutting are not sterilized properly which can lead to the variety of diseases, HIV and AIDS. The Anti Child Abuse Society of Africa stands for stopping Efidan or at least monitoring it by local authorities.
Sometimes children do not desire to eat food, but parents want them to eat – what should they do in this case? Some parents in the Gwaris, Yorubas and Hausas found a violent solution to this problem. If a child does not want to swallow watery food, then the parents or caregivers put the kid`s head between legs, close the nostrils and provide food to the mouth when the kid opens it. If the kids are crying during this procedure, then it`s a good sign for a parent to feed them. Nevertheless, these cultural practices of delivering food may lead to choking, chemical pneumonitis and aspiration pneumonia.
Child marriage is a very common cultural practices in some Nigerian tribes. The main victims of early marriage are young girls. The marriage age for them is considered to be around 12 years old. Still, some girls enter the puberty period in the house of the husband. Sometimes they can be married to a man much older, then they are. The violence occurs when a girl refuses to marry or have sex with a husband. They have to suffer from the pregnancy in the young age and suffer from obstructive labor. Young girls can be bought directly from the parents. Many of the children are given free to marriage for future economic and political benefits.
Occupational violence is a part of harmful traditional practices in Igboland. Children under age of 12 have to work on the farms against their will. They can work regardless climatic conditions. This practice is common in the forest and farm regions of Nigeria. Still, parents send their children to work as they believe it will help them to secure a job position in the future. Therefore, children do not go to school and have to work without proper protection. Public organizations and UN attorneys investigate cases of forced children labor in Nigeria.
UN Study on Violence in Africa provides facts of blood vengeance in some tribes. This tradition is based on the religion basis. If one member of the family harms a member of another family, then the whole family can pay a death price for the actions of one member. These cultural practices stand against law in Nigeria. Still, it does not stop these traditions. Families still have grudges and they prefer to solve their problems not in the courts. Therefore, Nigeria suffers from brutal murders in rural areas of the country.
Son preferences over daughters
Sons preferences can take many forms in cultural practices of tribes in Nigeria. This custom is rooted in gender inequality. According to this custom, families see the continuity of the lineage in men rather than women. Therefore, families see girls as not a part of the family. They justify the fact of the girls` abuse as they will be a part of the husband`s family. Therefore, these families see their main goal as to feed girls up until the age when they are ready to give birth to children. When girls reach the necessary age they can be married forcedly to a man.
This custom may not be harmful for a body, but forced marriage can be harmful for a soul. The arranged marriage is one of the widespread harmful traditional practices in Africa. Parents make arrangement that they children will marry at the certain age. Some of these arranged marriages become successful while others can be disastrous. According to these cultural practices, children have no freedom in choosing their life partners. Therefore, children become hostages of political and economic games of adults. Children who resist forced marriage can be severely punished not only by parents but also by the family of the future husband or wife.
Female Genital Mutilation
This practice is also known as female circumcision. It`s one of the cultural practices, where a female child has to go through the procedure of partial or total removal of the female genitalia for non-medical reasons. Some cultures in Africa see this tradition as a part of becoming a woman. Therefore, young girls undergo the procedure during the puberty period. Female Genital Mutilation is believed to be made to ensure women`s virginity. Some tribe cultures see external female organs as an unclean. Therefore, they believe that they clean they girls with mutilation of the organs.
It`s also one of the cultural practices of forced marriage. The main victims of this tradition are young women. They can be kidnapped by an individual or a group of individuals. Kidnapped women do not have an option to refuse the marriage. If they refuse to a proposal, then their families will be marked as shameful. Therefore, kidnapped women have no choice then to marry their kidnappers. Still, some women can choose more radical options, they can commit a suicide. UN express concerns about women kidnapping in Africa.
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It`s one of the old cultural traditions in Africa. Virgin girls in tribes are defined as clean and pure. Girls who did not save their virginity up to the marriage can be treated horribly. Virginity tests in Africa tribes can have various forms. According to the traditions, a girl can be defined as virgin if she has an intact hymen, innocent eyes, the tightness of muscles behind the knees and “tight breasts”. Some tribes also examine male virginity. According to some traditional tests, a boy defines as a virgin if he has a thick foreskin and can urinate over one-meter-high fence with no hands.
Breast ironing is one of the harmful tradition practices in Africa. This practice is performed by a mother on a pubescent daughter. With use of grinding stones, spatulas and hot stones a mother irons a daughter`s breast. According to some sources, African women firstly started to use this practice to prevent sexual abuse and beginning of sexual life for girls. On the contrary, it does not prevent girls from becoming sexually active, but it leads to an inability to produce breast milk.
Life of African tribes is always connected with survival. Moreover, African people are deeply religious, and the desperate times they are ready for desperate and foolish measures. Communities in Africa might experience various types of disaster, like long dry season, illness of tribe members, the death of cattle. Nevertheless, instead of seeking logical reasons of these issues, they tend to believe that it can be sorcery. Therefore, they burn innocent people to illuminate the sorcery is one the most harmful traditional practices in Africa.
It can be treated as a part of the long-standing tradition, but it`s another useful phrase for this is bribing the family of the future bride. Dowry may include money, gifts, property or goods. Moreover, the worst thing in this situation is that a woman is treated like a staff. Her price is estimated by characteristics, like youth, fertility and virginity. The family of the woman can treat her not like a person, but like a slave with no permit to say no to a future husband.
It`s another harmful tradition which came to Nigeria from Arabic world. Acid attack is an act where an attacker throws acid to the body or face of a victim. Acid attacks are a part of home violence in closed Muslim communities in Nigeria. Usual victims of acid attacks are women under age 25. The acid attacks resulted in the face scars, loss of eyesight body burning and even death. Moreover, it will also lead to a psychological trauma.
Wife inheritance traditions
According to the laws of some African tribe, a widow may not inherit the property of a husband. Moreover, a widow can be inherited by her husband`s kinsman, like brother, father or even son. Therefore, she becomes a wife of another man and has to provide matrimonial duties to her next husband.
Sometimes, relatives of the husband can claim a widow to cleanse the name of the husband. The community may decide how to cleanse the husband, and the range of cleansing methods are various. It can be having sexual intercourse with a social outcast, a trip to the wilds and sleep over with her husband’s corpse.
Polygamy is a practice of marrying more than one person. Still, in African tribes, this is connected more with polygyny. It`s a situation when a man can marry to multiple women, where a woman can marry only once. Therefore, women in this situation are highly dependent on men. It raises a question of women`s right in such types of families.
Regarding war and conflicts preserving community is highly important. Therefore, women in these situations are seen as tools of continuation of the lineage. Nevertheless, they are not asked to bear a child. They usually become victims of rapes and forced impregnations. The sides of the conflicts see the man “semen” as a continuation of the community. Therefore, if a man impregnates a woman from another tribe, she and her child become a part of the man`s community.
Stoning of Women
Stoning is capital punishment for women. It`s performed by non-state actors. Usually, a woman is buried up to the neck with no ability to move. The executioners throw rocks to the head of the condemned. It leads to a slow and painful death for a woman. It is one of the harmful traditional practices in Nigeria that can be seen in Muslim communities. Typical accusations for women, in this case, are infidelity, disobedience, and infertility.
Honor crimes involve physical or mental abuse, murder, exile, forced marriage of a member of a family to save the family. They can be committed against men and women. They are a subject of legal prosecution in Nigeria.
Male circumcision is a part of many cultures in the world. Nevertheless, male circumcision in Nigerian tribes is a question not only ethical but also medical. Many male circumcision operations are carried not in the hospitals and not by sterile tools. Therefore, up to 40% of boys die due to infection after circumcision operations in tribes.
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