How To Stop Harmful Traditional Practices in Nigeria

Last updated on August 4th, 2023 at 08:16 pm

There are lots of harmful traditional practices in Nigeria. Most, if not all of these practices are ravaging in a harmful way. The need for these harmful practices to be curbed is important, so as to save the victims of these acts. Therefore, we’ve reveal the ways harmful traditional practices can be stopped in Nigeria.

Harmful Traditional Practices in Nigeria

Harmful Traditional Practices in Nigeria

Harmful traditional practices (HTPs) are harmful customs and practices that are carried out mostly in local communities to make certain beliefs. These old traditional customs have been in existence since, and still exist, in most local society. They comprise actions which are damaging to the person(s) concerned and which arise from group perceptions of who may impose on the victim.

Harmful traditional practices have much adverse effects as most of it involve physical as well as psychological harm, that affects the victims in a long-term as well as immediate. These practices are related to traditional and magical beliefs of the local community, and through it which they belief is good, they pose a harm to people.

Harmful traditional practices are much and are common in interior African communities. The list is very varied as the popular ones include:

  • Breast ‘ironing’
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Early marriage (arranged marriage under the age of legal consent)
  • Forced marriage
  • Bride kidnapping
  • Denial of education
  • Denial of family planning, contraception and safe sex
  • Domestic violence
  • Dowry-related violence
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • Gang or wartime rape
  • Labia pulling
  • Forced fattening
  • Male genital mutilation (non- therapeutic ‘male circumcision’)
  • Maltreatment of widows and wife/widow inheritance (when the widow is forced to marry eg her late husband’s brother)
  • Widow ‘cleansing’
  • Physical punishment (including flogging)
  • Polygamy
  • Pimping (prostitution)
  • Sexual assaults and harassments
  • Virginity ‘tests’
  • Witchcraft allegations

Measures to Eliminate Harmful Traditional Practices in Nigeria

The harmful physical and health implications of most harmful traditional practices has call for the need to find ways to stop these menace in the country. Taking for instance, a issue like Female Genital Multilation (FGM) and Labia removal, these two traditional practices are carried out on women. This process involves the multilation of the female private organs in order to preserve certain rites and customs. This action is usually done in the early teenage age girls, so as to make them to sexually active untill they are of age. Both the two practices are very harmful and may imply health problems to the victims. So there should be a way to bring it to a halt.

Below are the elaborated ways to eliminate harmful traditional practices in Nigeria:

Giving Information

As an adage goes to say that ‘information is power’, it plays an essential primary role in curbing these harmful practices. Health organisations and other related government agencies can secure this through conversations with the people about these practices, the harmful effects and how it can be eradicated in the country. It is also important to have an intensive comprehension of the nature and degree of the specific work on this harmful traditional practices, including its underlying foundations and negative results.

Educating the Populace

Educating the target population is also another way of reducing the menace of traditional practices. In this medium, all is involved, from the government, high level officials, pioneers, customary personels, political officers, older people, teachers, down to the health workers who are critical in this aspect. The general populace (counting women, men and kids) should be educated about the destructive health results of these practices. It is especially essential to teach little children about these issues, because they are most prone to being victims of these acts.

Government Laws Against HTPs

Campaigns against these harmful traditional practices should be adopted. Laws against these practices should be put in place by governments at all levels, as this medium is ought to be believed to be defensive against these traditional practices, and also intended to forestall thes mischievious acts. This viewpoint is essential to be adopted by the government for the pupulace level, with the goal that the law gives security and backing to the affected persons and victims of these harmful practices.

Visuals About the Implications

There are some people that are doubter of the implications of these traditional practices, just because it is a normal existing custom. Videos give a fantastic methods for showing the unsafe impacts of some conventional practices. Recordings delineating a female genital mutilation activity or a lady who has not experienced female genital mutilation conceiving an offspring have end up being a powerful example in informing people about the adverse effects of harmful human rights.

Creating Social Awareness

The utilization of show and other social exercises, for example, plays or melodies, can likewise be a powerful strategy for dispersing information on the negative impacts of harmful traditional practices. Radio, newspapers, religious gathering and social centres may likewise be used to help disperse this information.

Informing Family Heads (Men)

As these harmful traditional practices centers mostly on females, therefore the need to inform and educate the unaffected gender is necessary, because it will make the situation less. Health bodies and the concerned government should create education centering around men in their aim to save girls and women from female genital mutilation. Men are the essential heads in the family, however they are likewise commonly uninformed of the specific nature and implications of these acts, so with them informed, the rest will be all done to eradicate HTPs.

Empowering and Educating the Female Gender

The significance of instructing young girls and ladies can’t be exaggerated. The occurrence of HTPs, for example, female genital mutilation and early marriage, diminishes as the thorough education of females about it implications, is povital to making a stop on this issue. In this way, supporting female training, both the enrolment of young girls in schools and grown-up education, ought to be a critical measure to halt harmful traditional practices in Nigeria.

Organisations Involved to Stop Harmful Traditional Practices

The alarming ravage of harmful traditional practices has moved may local and international organisations to work on eradicating these practices in the local communities. These organisations work to this by; giving support and funds in respect to this, creating awareness, also helping the victims of these acts.

Amongst the organisations which seek to stop Harmful Traditional Practices are the Inter-African Committee of Harmful Practices (IAC), NAPTIP, Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, UNICEF and the United Nations organisation on this.


After all is said, the harmful effects and implications of harmful traditional practices (HTPs) has make the need to obviate them pertinent. The list of harmful traditional practices is much, and this makes the need to stop them. We were explicit in outlining the measures to eradicate these practices in Nigeria, so that the health and physical problems it poses is reduced.

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Oluchi Chukwu

Oluchi is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the editor of Nigerian Queries. She is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research

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