Journal of
Law and Conflict Resolution

  • Abbreviation: J. Law Conflict. Resolut
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9804
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLCR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 102


An appraisal of polygyny and reproductive rights of women in Nigeria

Omolade Olomola
Department of Private and Business Law, Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 13 July 2012
  •  Published: 31 January 2013


This article was guided by the identification of the challenges caused by polygyny as it relates to the reproductive health rights of women in Nigeria. Reproductive rights are not matters of choice but they are matters of life and death. Many women have died as a result of maternal morbidity and maternal mortality because they could not make informed right choices about when and how to have children. According to The National Programme Director of the Partnership for the Transforming Health System (PATHS) Nigeria is second in world maternal mortality, after India, which has the highest maternal mortality rate; and in totality contributes 10% to the world’s total maternal death. He reiterated further that statistics had also shown that Nigeria contributed only two per cent to the world population, but had one of the highest child and maternal mortality in the world.  The study is conducted by examining on a comparative basis looking at the challenges of a multi-cultural country like Nigeria and what we can do to curb the upsurge of polygyny.  Focus will also be on the way to protect women that are already in polygyny and to gradually discourage the practice the legislation and registration of all marriages. Legislations, case law and writings of legal scholars are compared and culture will act as a gauge. There is no doubt that Nigerian culture is far from being perfect. Culture is dynamic and the barometer for gauging any society’s progress is the extent to which it can decide on what to borrow and what to retain or throw away thus every culture needs to be liberated. This article lays a foundation for further research into reproductive right and also contributes to a better understanding of women’s rights as peculiar rights.


Key words: Patriarchy, polygyny, reproductive rights, sexual rights, sexual health, sexuality.