Nigeria

Health workers say an apparent rise in contraceptive use in Nigeria stems largely from a willingness by traditional and religious leaders in some regions to use their influence in promoting reproductive health. In the predominantly Muslim north, where contraceptive use has historically been far lower than the national average, the support of traditional leaders has helped change attitudes in communities where contraception was long regarded as taboo. Alhaji Sani Umar, district head of Gagi District, Sokoto State, in northwestern Nigeria, works with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to advocate reproductive health in his community. 

Question Presented:Is the hadd punishment for zina the proper sharia punishment for an unmarried pregnant girl, who claims that the pregnancy resulted from unwanted sexual relations with three men in an arrangement made by her father as payment for his debt?

This article gives an explanation of the different varieties of FGM and puts it in historical context. It then goes into the various beliefs that underlie why this practice is carried out; all of whose foundations are patriarchal. The author explains how the practice of FGM can risk a woman health, and she then gives recommendations as to how to halt the practice.

This situation statement discusses manifestations of violence against women in Nigeria, as well as addressing cultural and religious beliefs that contribute largely to Nigerian women’s situation. It states that some of these beliefs have been practiced for so long that they are embedded in the societal perception almost as legal norms. Sexual assault, rape, forced marriage, widowhood rites, and FGM are discussed in detail, as well as the effects of Shari’a courts and implementation of ‘customary’ laws.

Notable in this report is that the Special Rapporteur is of the opinion that punishments such as stoning or amputation constitute treatments that are contrary to universally recognized norms prohibiting torture and other degrading, cruel and inhuman treatment or punishment. Stoning is prohibited in absolute terms by various international conventions such as Article 7 in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party (Paragraph 12.) 

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.

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