Widowhood Practices Among the Edo People in Nigeria: Continuity and Change

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: 418
Oral Presentation
Charles IRUONAGBE , Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria
                                                Widowhood Practices among the Edo people in Nigeria: Continuity and Change


Iruonagbe, T.C. (Ph.D); Chiazor, I.A. (Ph.D) & Ozoya, M. I. (M.Sc)

Department of Sociology,

Covenant University, Ota,

Ogun State, Nigeria

Email: tunde.iruonagbe@covenantuniversity.edu.ng




This is an empirical study involving both quantitative and qualitative approaches. It explores the widowhood practices among the Edo people n Nigeria which is a patriarchal society where majority of women especially those in the rural areas suffer from severe cultural constraints and inhibitions, creating an unequal relationship between men and women. The widowhood rites are often very dehumanizing to the extent that it erodes the self esteem, potentials and capabilities of women. They are made to suffer emotionally, physically and economically as they are often denied the essentials of life. In terms of their means of livelihood, a woman enjoys access to land for farm purposes when her husband is alive; but at death, she becomes vulnerable to the dictates of her late husband’s relations as she is seen as part of the property to be inherited by the family. The case is made worse by the fact that in some cases no form of adjudication on her behalf ever carries any significant effect especially in the rural milieu where customary law seems to be stronger than statutory law. This is the debilitating situation facing most widows in Edo State, Nigeria, hence the need to examine the prevailing situation and proffer appropriate solutions that would help address the challenges of widowhood practices in the 21stcentury and beyond.

Keywords:Cultural constraints; customary law; patriarchal societies; rural areas; statutory law; widowhood practices

Research Committee onSocial Transformations and Sociology of Development, RC 09

Session on: Development and the Transformation of Women’s Capabilities