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A 2007 World Health Organization study reported that FGM is practised in the vast majority of Nigerian states.
Article 29(4) deems a woman to be of full age upon marriage, which lends support to early marriages and contradicts the minimum age requirement (18 years for men and women) set by the Child’s Right Act 2003. A 2004 United Nations report estimated that 28% of girls between 15 and 29 years were married, divorced, or widowed.
When complaints are filed, investigations are often abandoned.
Despite the passage of laws in several states prohibiting female genital mutilation (FGM), and the adoption of a National Plan of Action aimed at reducing the preva- lence and incidence of FGM, the practice remains widespread.
The Coalition remains particularly concerned by the following violations of women’s rights in Nigeria: persistence of discriminatory laws; lack of harmonisation between statutory and customary laws and application of Sharia laws in the northern states; violence against women, including widowhood rites; and obstacles to access to employment, decision-making positions and health services. The Coalition of the Campaign acknowledges the adoption of several laws and policies aimed at improving respect for women’s rights, including: The passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Law 2007 by the states of Anambra and Imo, providing for affirmative action measures to redress under-representation of women in appointive and elective positions and prohibiting discrimination in areas such as education and employment.
The adoption of laws protecting the rights of widows in several states: Enugu (2001), Oyo (2002), Ekiti (2002), Anambra (2004), and Edo (2004).
Obstacles to access to employment and under-representation in political and public life Women have higher rates of illiteracy than men and are predominantly employed in the informal sector and thereby restricted from accessing social security benefits. Women continue to be seriously underrep- resented in decision-making positions.
Despite the 35% minimum quota stipulated in the National Gender Policy, in 2010 women represented 6.9% of members of the House of Representatives and 8.3% in the Senate.Sharia law does not allow women access to real property.Under customary law, a widow cannot inherit marital property.Divorce is pronounced following an investigation into the truth of the wife’s accusations.Violence: Under the Penal Code of Northern Nigeria, husbands are permitted to beat their wives provided it does not rise to the level of “grievous hurt” (s. Under Sharia law, the husband can withdraw maintenance if his wife refuses sexual inter- course. Kano State Sharia Penal Code), a woman alleging rape must produce 4 witnesses to the rape.According to the practice of levirate, a widow can be forced to marry to her deceased husband’s male relative.