Prior to the Advent of colonialism, African tribes had a vast number of horrid traditions and practice and Nigeria was no exception.
Over time however, Education, Religion, Social awareness and a lot of factors have tried to down play and even eradicate some of these practices.
Granted, to an extent, there has been huge success in this regard, but one cannot ignore the fact that some of these cultural practices are still in existence. The truth is, a few people are totally ignorant of this, while those who know, consciously decide to overlook it.
In the midst of all these, a few individuals and groups have also taken it upon themselves to bring an end to practices such as these, especially the extremely repugnant ones. Some of these practices include:
Girl Child Circumcision
The practice of female circumcision, although frowned upon by select few, especially the learned members of the society, is still being practiced in some parts of Nigeria. It is believed that circumcising a female child helps curb her libido, in addition to preserving her chastity. However, educated members of the society, the media, and several religious sects of the country have used their platform in diverse ways to call for an end to this practice and so far, the response has been uplifting.
Punishment of Widows
In some Nigerian cultures, once a man dies, his wife is considered the first suspect and as such, she is left at the mercy of tribesmen, who automatically assumes she is guilty even without a trial. More so, to prove her innocence, the lady would be required to go through certain abhorrent ordeals. For starters, her hair would be shaved off and she might be required to drink a portion of the water used in washing her husband’s corpse and spend the night with her husband’s corpse too. Widowhood practice is gradually going into extinction, but some tribes still practice it in tidbits.
The Sharo festival, practiced mainly by the Fulani’s is a festival used to welcome young boys into adulthood. Sharo, which basically means flogging is an event meant to showcase the strength and endurance level of the male folk. Usually held in a market place, the young participant about to be welcomed into adulthood would be continually whipped by another person, but is not expected to weep, scream or show any sign of pain. Wow!
This is predominant among the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria. To prevent adultery, married women are safeguarded with the Magun, a powerful black magic. The Magun is placed without the knowledge or consent of the married woman, and in the event she commits adultery, chances are, her lover would die.
This is common among the Edo’s and is meant to curb the widespread use of black magic. Once a person is suspected of practicing black magic, especially in the event of unexplained deaths or mishaps in the family, he or she is taken to the community’s witch doctor, who puts such person through rigorous torture to get him/her to say the ‘truth’. Once the suspect consequently confesses under duress, such person will be banished from the community.
Coveting of Inheritance
This practice is gradually going into extinction as more women are becoming educated and aware of their rights but in some parts of the country, once a man dies, it provides an opportunity for his greedy relatives to come in and lay claim to all his properties, leaving his immediate family with little or nothing.
The practices are definitely not limited to these six. You probably know some we didn’t capture? Drop them in the comment section below.