Posted by News Express | 23 March 2022 | 490 times
An old adage says “ignorance is a disease”. In Nigeria and many parts of Africa, ignorance is an epidemic. It is a weapon in the hands of the poor which is used to prey on the fellow poor and downtrodden elements of the society.
Last week a shameful video trended on the social media. A lady (identities withheld) was paraded naked by some men around a community in Aguleri in Anambra State. Her offence? Her husband died while they were consummating their matrimony in bed. She was instantly accused of being the cause of her husband’s death, stripped naked and paraded throughout the streets of the community.
This is the type of jungle justice that still prevails in many local communities. It is rooted in superstitious belief that when a man dies, his wife or wives are the automatic prime suspects if he was married. Some of the inhuman treatments that widows are forced to endure include being confined indoors for days, weeks or even months; being made to stay with the corpse until it is buried, and being forced to drink the water used in bathing the corpse.
That the same measures are not extended to men when their wives die simply means that these cultural practices specifically target women. Nigeria gained independence from the British colonial masters in 1960, almost 62 years ago. It is unacceptable that Nigerian women have not been freed from many of their cultural shackles.
Discriminations against women exist in almost every sphere of human activity. For inexplicable reasons, women are not allowed to bail detainees in most police stations. The girl-child is not allowed to inherit her father’s property in some cultures, while women married outside their states are not allowed to claim indigene ship of such states. Also, foreigners married to Nigerian women are not citizens, but foreigners married to Nigerian men are automatic citizens.
We call on the new Governor of Anambra State, Professor Charles Soludo, to use the example of this unjustly treated widow to show that under his watch, the dignity of life of Anambra residents will not be compromised. He should probe this ugly incident and ensure that all those behind it are brought to book, while the victim is thoroughly rehabilitated and de-stigmatized.
The importance of this is to prevent such incidents in the future. Otherwise, more widows will be dehumanized based on cultural ignorance.
We commend Senator Stella Odua for undertaking to rehabilitate the victim and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. We call on other well-meaning individuals to contribute their quota to wipe her tears.
We must not leave the campaign for the abolition of malicious cultural practices against women to women advocates alone. The shame of female gender subjugation is on all of us.
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