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Women -- Igbo -- Nigeria -- Social conditions, Women -- Nigeria -- Political activity, Nigeria -- History


Social media went abuzz on July 23, 2020, when hundreds of women – mostly naked – staged a protest in the northwestern state of Kaduna, Nigeria. Wailing and rolling on the ground, they protested at the killing of people in ongoing attacks on their community.

The protesters, mostly mothers, demanded justice and called on the government, security agencies and international community to intervene.

Such naked protests are not new in Nigeria. Traditionally, among the Igbo and Yoruba of Nigeria, stripping naked signifies a curse against those targeted. Sometimes, mothers strip naked to put a curse on their truant sons or disloyal husbands. In some cases, it signifies their willingness to die for a cause.

Nigerian women have historically employed naked protests to seek redress – with success. In my book chapter contribution on this subject, I documented numerous naked protests dating back to the colonial period. I drew the conclusion that through the spectacle of such protests, women have rewritten the script on their bodies and used nakedness as an instrument of power, rather than shame, in making their voices heard.


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