List Of Harmful Traditional Practices In Nigeria

List Of Harmful Traditional Practices In Nigeria, possible solutions, meaning, and all you need to know. Despite the advancement in technology and all of that, there are still tons of traditional practices in Nigeria. Yes, the country is with a modern economy quite alright, but then, some groups still prefer living according to their ancient norms and customs. Perhaps it won’t be much of a big deal if some of these practices are not violent and harmful, thus shouldn’t be embraced in our modern world.

It was made known by the Anti Child Abuse Society in Nigeria that many harmful cultural practices in the country work directly against children. Since a major feature of our modern world is to protect helpless and weaker creatures, then it is okay to challenge these harmful ventures.

Meaning of Harmful Traditional Practices in Nigeria

So, what exactly are harmful traditional practices? These are actually culture-based negative practices that have been embraced as norms since they have always been passed from one generation to another. Just as stated earlier, such is usually targeted against women and children (particularly the female). Hence, it is regarded as violence against women and children, who are the “weaker” category of society.

One direction we can’t but move these conversations towards is the fact that these harmful cultural and traditional practices also affect the health of the ‘victims’. If you are a Nigerian, you are likely a victim of one or more of these harmful cultural practices, or you have seen someone who is.

Of course, no one is against beautiful cultural practices. Culture is the total way of life of people, and every group have a right to decide on what they want to embrace. However, when it is harmful and violent, then there should be solutions to stop such.

List Of Harmful Traditional Practices In Nigeria

1. Efidan tradition

The word “Efidan” means cutting, and it is actually one popular harmful cultural incision. Some groups in Nigeria still embrace the concept as a necessity for the transition into an adolescent. In some tribes, women are compelled to cut themselves so they can be more sexually appealing to men. Men too undertake this harmful practice to prove their ripeness to start a family. The problem with this practice is that it leads to blood loss, and some can even die (particularly children). Hence, an organisation like The Anti Child Abuse Society of Africa is doing all that can be done to curtail the act.

2. Nutrition Violence

Nutrition violence is popular amidst ethnic groups like Yoruba, Hausa, and so on. They force food down the throat of their children when the baby refused to eat by placing the child`s head between legs, close the nostrils and provide food to the mouth when the child opens it. Although it is majorly done with good intentions, the issue is that it might lead to choking as well as other negative things like chemical pneumonitis

3. Forced Marriage

Another harmful traditional practice in Nigeria is the issue of forced marriage, where young girls as young as 12 are forced to marry a man they might not even desire. The girl’s will is not sought nor respected, and the man might also be a man much older than her. For such girls, sex is usually painful, and they suffer from pregnancy to the time to deliver.

4. Childs` Labour

Child’s labour is usually found in poor and illiterate societies, where you see kids under the age of 12 have to indulge in tough works against their will. This can be found amidst the Igbo tribe, where children are forced to work on the farms against their will, and many of them end up not going to school.

5. Son Preferences Over Daughters

This one is rooted in gender inequality, and girls are not seen as part of the family, because she will eventually become part of her husband’s family in the nearest future. So, the continuity of the lineage is seen in men, whereby boys are treated better than girls.

6. Arranged Marriage

Many groups in Africa are still practising this custom, but it is harmful, as the young male or female is forced to marry someone outside his or her will.

7. Female Genital Mutilation

Another popular harmful traditional practice in Nigeria is the Female Genital Mutilation, also known as female circumcision. A female child has to go through the procedure of partial or total removal of the female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

8. Bride Kidnapping

This is another aspect of forced marriage, and it’s a tradition where a young lady is kidnapped to marry someone she doesn’t want. Some of the victims have committed suicide, and the United Nations has expressed concerns about women kidnapping in Africa.

9. Virginity Test

Another harmful traditional practice in Nigeria is the virginity test, which is an old tradition in Africa. Virginity in a girl can be defined as a lady having an intact hymen and perhaps ‘tight breasts’. Those that did not pass the test are subjected to horrible experiences.

10. Breast Ironing

This harmful cultural practice is carried out by a mother on a pubescent daughter. They make use of things like grinding stones, spatulas and hot stones. The mother irons her daughter`s breast, and it might eventually prevent her from becoming sexually active, or prevent her from producing breast milk.

11. Wife Inheritance Traditions

There are tribes that don’t allow a widow inherit the property of her late husband. After the death of her husband, she can be inherited by her husband`s kinsman, and she will become his wife (either she likes it or not).


In conclusion, although there are tons of other harmful cultural practices in Nigeria, these ones are so prevalent and must be stopped.


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