The Problem Encountered By The Widow In Kaduna South

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This research work titled “The Problem Encountered By The Widow In Kaduna South” this research is carry out to examine the problem of widow and their relationship with their husband’s relations, a large number of the widows claimed to be in conflict with their husbands’ relations. This may not be unconnected with frictions, which arise in an attempt by their husband’s relations at trying to disposes them. The study also shows that majority of the widows do not have sufficient education and hence not empowered before their husbands’ death. This in effect contributes to the major problems, which affect most of the widows. On sources of support for the widows and their children, majority of the widows are farmers and petty trades and do not have other sources of support apart from themselves. A social survey was adopted in carrying out this project with a sample size of 50 was selected for this research work. The study recommends the active involvement of government, churches, widows’ relations and friends and social workers in assisting the widows. What the work achieves is the mapping out of welfare packages for widows, which if adopted by government, will be very helpful in solving the problem of widows. This research hopes to be a major contribution to the growing literature on widowhood and gender issues.


Title page  –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        i

Declaration         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        ii

Approval Page   –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        iii

Dedication –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        iv

Acknowledgement       –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        v

Abstract     –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        vi

Table of contents        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        vii


Chapter one: Introduction

1.1            Background of the study         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        1

1.2            Statement of problem    –        –        –        –        –        –        –        3

1.3            Objectives of the study  –        –        –        –        –        –        –        4

1.4            Significance of study      –        –        –        –        –        –        –        4

1.5            Research questions        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        6

1.6            Scope of the study         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        6

1.7            Definition of terms         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        7


2.0    Introduction         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        8

2.1    Widowhood rites and rituals –        –        –        –        –        –        8

2.2    Widowhood practices –        –        –        –        –        –        –        13

2.3    Disinheritance of widows     –        –        –        –        –        –        23

2.4    Violation of widows’ rights    –        –        –        –        –        –        28

2.5    Psychological and emotional effects of widowhood         –        –        30


3.0    Methodology      –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        36

3.1    Research design         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        36

3.2    Population of the study        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        37

3.3    Sample size and sampling technique    –        –        –        –        37

3.4    Instruments for data collection      –        –        –        –        –        37

3.5    Administration of the instrument/data collection-     –        –        38

3.6    Data Analysis     –                 –        –        –        –        –        –        39

CHAPTER FOUR: Data presentation and analysis

4.0    Findings, analysis and discussion-        –        –        –        –        –        41

4.1    Analysis of respondents characteristic- –        –        –        –        41

4.2    Effects of widowhood –         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        42

4.3    Society’s perception of widows-   –        –        –        –        –        46

CHAPTER FIVE: Summary of findings, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.0    Introduction         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        49

5.1    Summary   –                  –        –        –        –        –        –        –        49

5.2    Conclusion         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        50

5.3    Recommendation –      –        –        –        –        –        –        –        50

Bibliography  –    –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        54

Appendix i           –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        56

Appendix ii




Widowhood is seriously attracting attention professionals in Nigeria. This is because of cultural factors associated with women after the death of their husband. This project examines the problem encountered by widow in Kaduna south Local Government Kaduna.

Widowhood is one of the events of life, which women go through. It is the loss of a husband, breadwinner and supporter. According to Saba (19)7), (his event, is usually followed by a period of bereavement after which the woman begins to adjust to the loss, and plans for her future and the future of her children.

There is no doubt that widowhood is a big problem, which is affecting a large percentage of women today. As we all know, a highly dependent woman may Find it very difficult carrying on the daily responsibilities of her family all alone. This is because she has been used to her husband providing for the family. This, in effect, explains why in most cases, the woman will be too confused to know that she is supposed to come to terms with the fact that she can never bring her husband back to life, and as such, should start thinking about how to adjust to her new role as the head of the family. Apart from the initial psychological effects of widowhood, there are also long-term effects of widowhood on women (Saba 1997).

Bodge (1950); Holden and Kuo (1906) opines that widowhood has been noted ( be accompanied by a drop in economic well—being of women and according to Saba (1997), this drop in economic well-being is usually very stressful for women because traditionally, the men are supposed to be the breadwinner and provider. When the woman suddenly finds herself occupying this role, she is likely to become so tensed up and confused, that if she is not counseled, she and her children may end up suffering throughout their lifetime.

In many parts of Nigeria, widowhood has been identified as a form of social problem. It debases womanhood as well as creates economic instability and uncertainty for both widows and their children.

Most widows’ problems start immediately after the pronouncement of their husbands’ death. In some cases, the relatives do demand for documents of their husbands’ property and even go to the extent of dispossessing them of their husbands’ bank accounts.Encountered

Widows and their children arc maltreated by their husbands/fathers’ relations. They arc treated as if they have no right to exist. This maltreatment usually leads to psychological breakdown of the widow. Her children not left. Out as most of them are withdrawn from school because their mother has been dispossessed of all she has. This type of neglect results in the children of the widow becoming societal deviants as they may seek solace in gangs and involve themselves in some forms of deviant behavior.Encountered


In Kaduna south local government just like in many other states of Nigeria, widowhood practices are seen as serious problems, which also have serious implications to widows, their children, and the society.Encountered

Many widows arc made to go through a series of dehumanizing treatment, which according to the people who administer these practices, is to purify the widow against some ill luck, which are associated with widowhood. This treatment affects the widows physically, psychologically and emotionally, thereby causing havoc to them.Encountered

It has also been observed that most widows are dispossessed of their husbands’ property in the event of their husbands’ death. This affects both the widows and their children adversely. Even more is that most of the widows arc not economically empowered before the death of their husbands. This most times, could lead to their children being withdrawn from school because their mother has been dispossessed of all her possessions. This development could have negative impact on the children of the widows.Encountered

This study therefore investigates the various effects of widowhood practices on the widows in Kaduna south local government with the aim of suggesting intervention, which if implemented, will help the widows and their children cope with everyday living.Encountered


The objectives of this study therefore tire the following:

1.     To investigate the various effects of widowhood as social problem.

2.     To identify various intervention strategies which will help in alleviating the problems of widows and,

3.     To examine ways in which widows can be empowered through committed activities of the government, social workers, widows associations, non-governmental organizations, churches and relations.Encountered


The study of widowhood will help the general public to understand the effects of harmful widowhood practices.

This research will also help widows to learn how to resist some obnoxious widowhood practices. These practices have posed challenges to social workers, who are expected to help in enlightening the widows on their right to resist some attempts at coercing them into dehumanizing

Furthermore, through some intervention strategies that are mapped out, the investigation will help widows adjust and work towards realizing their full potentials


Another significance of Ibis study is that it poses a challenge to

social workers and non-governmental organizations that widows problems arc areas which have been neglected for so long, as such effort should be channel towards looking into the affairs of widows, thought the organization of seminars and symposia, provision of counseling services both in the areas of career and crises management, and the enlightenment of the general public.Encountered

The study also stands to favour the widows and their children as the enlightenment, programmes and workshops will help in educating the general public, especially husbands to write their wills and also empower their wives when they arc alive, so that they will not be subjected to any dehumanizing treatment or even dispossessed in the event of their deaths.Encountered


Widowhood study is a very wide area of research. Most communities in Nigeria have varying degrees of widowhood practices and experiences. This research will certainly not be able to undertake a comprehensive investigation of various issues and questions that are associated with widowhood practices, rituals, and experiences in the entire country. This study will be limited to the Kaduna south local government area.Encountered


1.5.1 Widow: A woman who lost her husband to death.Encountered

1.5.2 Marriage by inheritance: This is also known as levirate. It is a tradition being carried out by some communities whereby a widow is forced to marry the brother of her late husband, if she is to remain in her late husband’s house.Encountered

1.5.3 Widowhood Practices: These are actions, which arc carried out either by the widow or the relations of the deceased to the widow in fulfillment of some rites, which are administered to the widow, during the mourning period.Encountered

1.5.4 Obnoxious rites/rituals: These are unpleasant customary practices carried out by the relations of the widows on the widows. These rituals according to the people, who practice them, are said to purge the widows of some ill luck, which they may come across as a result of their husbands’ death.

1.5.5 Interventions: This as used in this study, means those things that put in place to prevent the effects of harmful widowhood practices on the widows mid their children, so as to help them realize their full potential.

1 1.5.6 Empowerment: This is the act of giving power to the widows in order for them to be economically independent, socially liberated and legally aware of their rights.Encountered

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