The academic-journal article on bereavement practices in southeastern Nigeria states that in the southeast, it is believed that, if a widow contributed to her husband's death, "some very terrible things will happen to her" after participating in this ritual ibid. According to a Toronto-based Nigerian historian who has done field work in Edo State on widowhood rites, the ritual is initiated by the family of the deceased if they have reason to believe that the widow was responsible for her husband's death Historian 5 Oct.
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A Toronto-based Nigerian researcher who has also researched and published on widowhood rites in Edo State indicated in a telephone interview with the Research Directorate that if a woman is not on good terms with her husband's family-i. A family member would contact the village priest or chief to express these suspicions and pressure the widow to participate in some form of ritual to prove her innocence ibid.
According to the historian, a widow's refusal to drink the bath water of her deceased husband would "of course" be taken as an admission that she had killed her husband 5 Oct. The historian and the researcher both indicated that the consequences for refusing to participate in the ritual depend on whether the widow has her own family members brothers and other male relatives who are able to protect her Historian 5 Oct. If she has no such protection, her life would be in danger ibid. In this situation, a widow would generally have to move away from her village with her children to save herself Researcher 5 Oct.
According to the researcher, in Christian areas of the country, local churches may intervene to support widows and protect them from being forced to undergo "oppressive" mourning rituals 5 Oct.
Similarly, the historian provided an example of a woman who was smuggled out of her home and village by the church because her deceased husband's family had attempted to force her to perform the ritual and had tried to kill her son, the heir to her husband's family property 5 Oct. This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints.
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This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
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