This article discusses issues of widowhood rites and practices in Nigeria, which are prevalent in some areas such as Igboland, Akwa Ibom, Edo and Delta states and even parts of Ondo state. More often than not, a widow is accused of being responsible for the death of her husband, especially when the man dies at a young age. Therefore, widows are coerced into going through degrading and dehumanising rituals all in an effort to prove her innocence.

This paper reports the activities and outcomes of a Christian women group initiative to eliminate dehumanising widowhood practices, a prevalent type of gender-based violence among the Igbos in Eastern Nigeria. Through in-depth interviews, group discussions, participant observations and membership records, information was elicited on the processes and outcome of the women group initiative. Evaluation was done using the community action cycle framework model for community mobilisation. The women group was able to identify and eliminate major dehumanising widowhood practices.

This book is an update on the issue of Shari’a law in Nigeria, written for the purpose of documenting the genesis of its implementation and the roles being played by Baobab for Women’s Human Rights and other notable NGOs in seeking justice for some of the victims of the new Shari’a Acts in Nigeria. It discusses how Shari’a has been implemented mainly by focusing on convicting women of zina, and sentencing them to whippings or death by stoning.

In this report Amnesty International calls for the authorities to monitor violence against women in the home, to ban it in law and repeal laws that allow it to flourish, to end discrimination against women in the criminal justice system, and to take positive measures to challenge social prejudices against women. This report relies on Amnesty International's own research, including during visits to Lagos State in March and November 2004, and on work done with Nigerian NGOs.

A few important points are raised in this article. Paragraph 35 states:characterizing adultery and sodomy as capital offences leading to death by stoning is contrary to applicable Nigerian and international law.  Neither can be considered to be one of the most serious crimes for which the death penalty may be prescribed.

This book is a report on the prevalence of female circumcision and female genital mutilation (FC/FGM) and on the use of law and policy to address these practices. This work places FC/FGM firmly within a human rights and legal framework, although it does recognise and address the challenges inherent to this discourse. The authors look at the history of FC/FGM; its consequences for women’s health; the reasons used to justify it – i.e. culture, control over women’s sexuality, tradition, interpretation of religious directives; and the history of movement’s working to combat it.

The book is an advocacy tool that sharpens the issues of violence against women in the efforts so far carried out against FGM in Nigeria from 1990 to 2000.

This project was implemented by Human Angle, an organisation that has been working in Nigeria to protect the right of widows to inherit their deceased husbands’ estate, without being dispossessed by their in-laws. Human Angle uses the following ways to achieve this aim:

The “Stop Violent Punishments Against Women” campaign project of BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights in Nigeria began in 2009 with a training workshop designed to sensitise journalists and other media professionals on issues of culturally-justified violence against women (CVAW).  BAOBAB promoted the message that VAW cannot be justified by culture (such as discriminatory treatment of widows) or Islam (for example where in the religious legal systems of some states lethal punishments such as stoning for the crime of adultery still exist).

Control and Sexuality by Ziba Mir-Hosseini and Vanja Hamzić examines zina laws in some Muslim contexts and communities in order to explore connections between the criminalisation of sexuality, gender-based violence and women’s rights activism. The Violence is Not Our Culture Campaign and the Women Living Under Muslim Laws network present this comparative study and feminist analysis of zina laws as a contribution to the broader objective of ending violence in the name of ‘culture’. Attached is the whole book, available for download for free. Please do consider making a donation to WLUML.

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