By Martin Nwoko

Traditional Rulers, Community leaders and other stakeholders in Nigeria have been urged to support efforts to end child marriage, female genital mutilation, widowhood practices and other harmful traditional practices.

The call was made at the 2-day national seminar organized by National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) on the theme, “The Effects of Harmful Traditional Practices,” held in Owerri, Imo State capital.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, yesterday, the NICO Executive Secretary/CEO, Ado Muhammed Yahuza said these traditional practices are violent in nature with mostly women and girls at the receiving end, adding that, “some of them have affected maternal and newborn health tragically.”
Yahuza, represented by the South East Zonal Director, Chioma Duru added that the practices “have been known to damage the individual psyche, infringe on human rights, diminish self worth and hamper self actualization.”

He said, ” in spite of several literatures and public enlightenment activities on the inherent dangers in these practices, they have continued to exist in Nigeria and Africa majorly.

“To this effect, we have gathered here today on the auspices of NICO to explore ways to safeguard principles that can eradicate these negative social norms in areas they are still prevalent.”

Also Chairman of the event, Fidel Onyeneke, Public Affairs Analyst, and guests lecturers, Prof. Ndulife Njoku of Department of History, Imo State University, Dr. Chukwuemeka Nwosu, Dr. Nneka Oli, from Faculty of Social Sciences Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka dissected the causes and consequences of the practices.

They equally highlighted the roles expected of the stakeholders towards preventing and eradicating the traditional practices and gender based violences in the country.

Other special guests at the event include Hon. Doris Onyeali, Commissioner for Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture, Imo State; Prof. U. D Anyanwu, Prof. Olivia Afam-Anene, HRH Eze Martin Maduabuchi Keke, Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuezi and Lady Assumpta Akujuobi, Director, Imo State Arts and Culture.