Subject: Social Studies
Topic: Harmful Traditional Practices
Lesson Objective: by the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to:
- Say the meaning of harmful traditional practices;
- Mention and discuss examples of these harmful traditional practices;
- Discuss the consequences of these harmful traditional;
- Suggest ways these harmful traditional practices can be eradicated .
HARMFUL TRADITIONAL PRACTICES
Hamful traditional practices are
engagements that bring physical,
mental, social and health dangers and
damages to people. These practices
are debasing to human beings,
discriminating in character and in the
true sense of it are backward in nature.
Examples of Harmful Traclitional Practices are:
1. Use of children for begging
2.Child Agric labour
3. Female circumcision
4. Early Mariage
5. Gender discrimination
6. Osu caste system, etc
7. Kiling of multiple births cultured
The Use of Children for Begging
Begging by children, in Nigeria took its root from cultural and religious
practices of some ethnic groups and
religions. lt is a common scene on our
streets, worship centres, banks and
important occasions, to see young and old children begging alone or with their parents.
They beg for alms, food, money, and other material things. The children in this begging saga are between the ages of three to twelve years. A period they suppose to be in schools.
In the past, among the lgbo ethnic
group, begging was an eye sore,
shameful and degrading. But today,
some parents deliberately send their
children into the streets, market,
church, ceremonial activities, to beg
even on school days.
Other ethnic groups in Nigeria may have their story to tell with regard to begging. Whether begging is traditional, religious or civic, it is shameful for children to be used in it. Traditional or religious practices that deprive the children the opportunity of receiving good education is backward and should be changed. If education is given to the child at early stage in life, it is a good thing in the right direction.
Gender Discrimination: These are
backward practices against the female folks in our midst. They, among others, include: punishing women at the death of their husbands, denying them access to their husband’s property, and not giving share or inheritance to the woman whose household could not produce any surviving son or male child. In the lgbo cultural area, girls are not allowed to partake in the land allocation of their parent’s parcels of
land. It is assumed that they will marry out and leave the household for good. No matter how true this may be, the education of the girl child makes her to be part and parcel of her father’s home, and that makes her to contribute immensely towards the up-keep of her parents.
Even when the parents die, the
female folk contribute in no small
way to the burial of their parents. To
this therefore, men should, as a matter of justice and fair- play, give education to all their children and share out their property to all of them, irespective of whether they are male or female.
Killing of multiple births: The
killing of twins, triplets, quadruplets,
quintuplets, sextuplets and others
were practiced in Nigeria before social contact with the western world,
Europe. In most ethnic groups it was
regarded as an abomination for a
woman to give birth to multiple
children. These multiple births were
either thrown into the evil forest, killed or sacrificed to the local deity. Their mothers were either neglected or banished into the evil forest to die. This happened till a missionary called Mary Slessor arrived Nigeria, that the killing of these multiple births became eradicated. Today multiple births bring joy and happiness to individuals, families and the entire society.
Child Agric Labour: Many people in the past had large families in order to have enough hands for fam work.
This practice shifted from the adults,
who are now old enough to contribute meaningfully in Agricultural practices to children who are supposed to be in school acquiring new knowledge and techniques of modem agricultural practices. Worst is the use of old and obsolete implements by these children, in the farm work. Nigeria has all it takes to transform the agricultural sector, and stop this ugly child agric labour. Free, compulsory and quality education should be offered at all levels in the country. Imo and other State govemments are in the right direction here, having introduced and implemented free compulsory education at and, primary, secondary, and even tertiary levels.
Female Circumcision. This is the
circumcision exercise carried out on
the female child. t was practised in
Nigeria before the discovery of its
dangerous efects on the girl child.
This practice was based on the
misconception that uncircumcised female child has a high tendency of being sexually uncontrollable, and becomes highly promiscuous.
The traditional practice was caried out under unhygienic conditions, which on many occasions led to excessive bleeding, and many times death. Certain diseases were also associated with the hamful practices, because the instruments used were not sterilized. This is female genital mutilation, which is dreaded today so because of its unacceptable standards.
Early Mariage: Many ethnic nationalities in Nigera, once practised early marriage. In lgbo land for example, parents used to arrange suitable husbands or wives for their daughters and sons when they are still very young.
This marriage or engagement could
be through the use of a coin or any other acceptable object put into the
drinking plate of the infant. This is
infant betrothal marriage among the
Igbo’s of the past. The only son of
the parents usually married early.
The Hausa/Fulani allow their
daughters to marry at tender ages.
This early marriage has a lot of
disruptive and negative influences
on the immature child.
Child’s Right Act makes it an offence
for a person to mary or get engaged
to anyone or person under 18 years
of age. Today, any of such marriage or
betrothal is regarded as a violation
against the child’s rights act, and
should be taken as voidable and of no effect. Such violation attracts a fine of imprisonment for 5 years behind bars.
Osu Caste System: The Osu caste system (the untouchables) is an old practice which has persisted in lgbo land.
This is discrimination on certain
categories of people who entered
into the social group knowingly or
unknowingly. It could be slavery or
descendants of slaves or people
who ran into the shrine for protection
when they were under great persecution. This practice should
have been over-taken by education,
migration, industrialization, urbanization but continued only in mariage.
Even among the Christians, mariage between an Osu and free born is discriminated upon and resisted. Education ought to make us know that nobody’s birth is superior or inferior. Nowadays, one is rated high or low relative to whatever skill he/she possesses.
The industrialist require developed
skills to effectively operate his business centre not people whose
religious purity cannot allow to come
to work everyday. Nobody, today is
Osu and anybody who thinks so is
uncivilized and is living in the past
Consequences of Harmful Traditional Practices
a. Problem at Child Birth: Early
marriage exposes the pre-mature
girl to early sex life which is detrimental to her future life. There is
high mortality rate among girls who
married early. Some of these young
girls die at child birth. Others are
unable to push out the baby due to instructed labour.
Sex and reproduction are the same coin of two sides. It is the source of life on earth, and anybody, male or female moving into it, should be mature enough to know how to cushion the unpleasant effects. Many lives have been lost through early mariage by our youths. The most critical effect of early marriage is the Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) where the
girl passes urine uncontrollably.
b. Exploitation of Children.
Under-aged children through harmful
traditional practices, are grossly
exploited, abused and disorganized.
The buying, selling, hiring or any
forced labour on the child with the
purpose of making money e.g.
hawking or begging for money or
alms, guiding beggars and even
prostituton amount to exploitation of
the child who is supposed to be in
school. Also included in this, is the
practice of allowing little children to
live with older family members as house help.
c. Deprivation of Schooling. The
children sufer serious deprivation
both in education and social life. He
is out of school at the time his mates
are receiving teaching and learning.
The knowledge, skill and other
abilities of life are denied him or her.
The socio-communitylife is beyond
that of her age mates. This could
make the child to become fixated,
odd and lacking in the ability to work
with his age mates.
Vesico Vaginal Fistula (V.V. F): A condition in which the girl passes urine uncontrollably.
The African Medicine Journal in
recent study, stated that about 73
a percent of V.V.F victims in Northem Nigeria are between the ages 10 and 20 years. Most of the V.V.F victims were 15 years or less when they got married; and the majority of them were stark iliterates. This illhealth makes the sufferers to always smell bad, no matter how much efforts they make to remain neat. This is because the birth canal is not yet mature for
pushing out a baby. It cost fortune to repair this damaged canal for the
leakage to stop and most of them can’t afford it.
Some harmful traditional practices places social stigma on victims:
The woman who was punished because of the death of the husband, the incident of being born an Osu, the child who had early marriage and suffering from V.V.F. among others, sufferrer unese social stigma.
Anywhere, any time they are seen,
certain oomments, are made against
them. Even those that did not know
when these incidents happened, hate
them and may not want to have any
thing to do with them.
Ways of Preventing Harmful Traditional Pracices.
In preventing Harmful Traditional
Practices, the following should be
adhered to strictly:
1. Public Enlightenment: The people
should be properly enlightened
through radio, television, newspaper, religious institutions, grass-roots based organizations, etc.
The public enlightenment is aimed at
educating the people on the dangers of harmful traditional practices.
2. Provision of Free and Compulsory Education at all Levels: Everybody should have access to education as a right, not a privilege. Education will go a long way to wipe out the erroneous beliefs and fears held by some ethnic nationalities on these harmful practices, which were practised or instituted by their dead ancestors. Women should be given more opportunities in education at various levels. This will help them to speak against these hamful practices
meted out against the female folk in the society.
Legislation: Enactment and proper
enforcement of strict and effective legislation against these harmful
traditional practices that make our
people look primitive with regards to
female genital mutlation, Osu caste
system, gender discrimination and
others. Offenders should be severely punished in accordance with the laws made on hamful traditional practices.
There should be no compromise, fear or favour on who stubbornly forge ahead to practise this backward and dangerous traditional practices.
Advocacy Visits: Advocacy visits
to the real culture bearers or carriers
in the places that are still practising
the hamful practices, will go a
long way in eradicating the evil
practices. Included in this advocacy
visits are the Emirs, Ezes, Obas, and
others who are the main custodians
of culture and tradition.
Cultural Violence which have to do with cultural norms and practices that create discrimination, injustice and human suffering should be presented to our royal fathers for re-examination and re-valuation.
Whenever these leaders are convinced on the dangerous implications of the harmful traditional practices, they will stand bold to stamp them out from the people and delete them from their cultures.
1. Explain the tem hamful traditional
2. List any five hamful traditional
practices in Nigeria
3. Analyze the consequences of these
4. Describe measures that could be
taken to eradicate these practices in
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