Onyima custom among the Igbo of Nigeria: rethinking high fertility and prospects for change

Ezebunwa Nwokocha, University of Ibadan

Nigeria is classified among high fertility countries which despite sustained campaigns has experienced very slow rate of fertility reduction. The Igbo ethnic group contributes substantially to the country’s prevailing fertility regime. Population pressure in Igbo sub-groups is a product of patriarchy and reproductive wrongs. This study examined onyima which is a relatively less emphasized pronatalist custom among the Igbo, as way of understanding the inherent ideology and the feasibility of fertility reversal in relevant contexts. Data were collected through 16 In-depth Interviews, 8 Focus Group Discussions and 456 copies of a questionnaire. Findings reveal that about 71 percent of respondents agreed that some categories of the people would not want to celebrate onyima; both the educational level and relations ever-had-onyima each significantly influenced respondents’ perception on whether the custom is still necessary (p<0.001). Intervention should target modifications that will be sensitive to the complexity and interests of different stakeholders in order to make necessary community adaptation inclusive.

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Presented in Poster Session 2