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NICO seeks support to end child marriage, practices against widows

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Traditional rulers, community leaders, and other stakeholders have been urged to support efforts aimed at ending child marriages, female genital mutilation, practices against widows, and other harmful traditions.

The call was made at a two-day seminar organised by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) with the theme: “Effects of Harmful Traditional Practices,” in Owerri, Imo State.

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Speaking at the opening ceremony, Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NICO, Ado Muhammed Yahuza, said such traditional practices were violent in nature, with women and girls were always at the receiving end, adding: “Some of them have affected maternal and newborn health tragically.”

Yahuza, who was represented by the Southeast 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.

“In spite of several kinds of literature and public enlightenment activities on the inherent dangers of these practices, they have continued to exist in the Southeast, Nigeria, and Africa.

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

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

They also highlighted the role expected of stakeholders to prevent and eradicate dangerous traditional practices and gender-based violence in the country.

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

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