THE LEGAL ANATOMY OF CULTURAL WIDOWHOOD PRACTICES IN SOUTH EASTERN NIGERIA: THE NEED FOR A PANACEA (Published)
Nigeria is a patriarchal society, thus women are regarded as less human beings, especially among the Igbos of South Eastern Nigeria. Against this backdrop women are discriminated against, degraded and dehumanized despite the provisions of our local statutes such as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and various other International Human Rights Instruments which Nigeria ratified. The widow is the fulcrum of this debased treatment. Widows are subjected to agonizing, painful and dehumanizing treatments during their mourning rites and thereafter. This impact negatively on their social, psychological and physical wellbeing. Surprisingly some of these obnoxious cultural practices are tacitly accepted and implemented by fellow women called the ‘Umuadas’. Hence, this paper examines the Igbo widowhood practices in South Eastern Nigeria and how the harmful widowhood rites can be eradicated.