Could Culture and Religion Be Tagged As a Negative Influence on Human Dignity?

 

Most African cultures and religious practices acknowledge that a human life is credited by some supreme being. You could call him a “God” “Allah” or “god”. In Nigeria the case is not different.

The Nigerians society has a mix of cultural and religious beliefs. It is believed that the GOD or gods that heads a belief system strive to protect its believers. In the cultural aspect, gods may tend to devalue human dignity in cases when the human has been involved with some unethical behavior violating cultural laws, values and practices which in most cases are set to preserve its believers’ dignity.

 

Recently, most Nigerians tends to embrace one form of religion with over 52% being Muslim and 46% Christian. According to Duhaime’s Law Dictionary, Human Dignity can be defined as an individual or group’s sense of self-respect and self-worth, physical and psychological integrity and empowerment. This implies each human is worth to be respected and appreciated no matter his/her age or sex.

According to a write-up by Dianne (1999) the fusion of the sperm and the oocyte at fertilisation results in a live human being. Hence a fertilised egg is worth some human dignity. Is this the case in our society today? Do our religion and culture allow respect for human dignity?

I have read a countless number of blog posts and review about baby making factories and aborted fetus found on abnormal places (school’s fields, dustbin sites, pathways etc.) this has pushed me to reflect if the Nigerian culture / religion portrays what it really should be.
Abortion has become the talk of the day in recent years in Nigeria. It is common to read newspaper headlines about criminal aborted fetus found in dump sites or fields.

 

The Nigerian culture (especially Igbo indigenous groups) frown at a teenage pregnancy. Most times this is looked upon as a taboo and a stain to the family name. This has led to most teenage girls risking their life by devaluing human life in the act of murder through criminal abortion. Sometimes this act is masterminded by the parents of the teenage girl.

 

Judging from the trends on social media, TV shows (e.g. BBN show) it could be concluded that the Nigerian society at large does not frown at sex before marriage. WHAT A DILEMMA? It will seem that most people have failed to realize the consequence of unwanted pregnancy is SEX without protection. It will not be wrong for me to tie this act as a consequence of being “too RELIGIOUS”. The practice of religion in this society has failed to tie itself to morals and its emphasis has led to a traditional religious act rather than having a GOD FEARING attitude.

 

According to the medicalworldnigeria over 25% of Nigerian couples are infertile of which only 40 seek medical attention. An adoption is an option for those who cannot have children of their own. Adoption in Nigeria is not accepted in some Nigerian societies due to traditional beliefs and values.

 

The lengthy procedure involved in adoption has also made most potential parents scared of adopting a child. These hindrances have given way to a form of “business” that devalues the human called “the BABY MAKING FACTORIES”. Most of such factories operate as orphanages and maternity.

 

In such institution, a pregnant woman (mostly one who does not want to keep the baby) is kept and catered for until she is due. When she gives birth, her baby is sold out to baby-seeking parents and she is given a token of the money as a payout. This is a modernised form of child trafficking going on in a Nation full of Christians and Muslims. Most times the female parent buying the child must have been under hormonal therapy with a Moon-bump (fake baby bump) making those around believing she is pregnant.

 

Most times these homes are patronised by adolescence girls with unwanted pregnancies. It may look surprising to say that some teenage girls have used this as a form of business to elevate their status. Some of these institutions have young men who are paid to sleep with the girls so they can conceive babies to be sold out. I wish I could tell if the status of those involved is checked before the act. I am now left to wonder out loud is this act acceptable in a 50%Muslim and 46%Christian society?

 

I am now left with the questions where is our respect for GOD in our religion. Where is the respect for LIFE? Are our Adolescents safe?

 

By Atenchong Ngwibete Menakaya

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