Why Incest is Rampant in Nigeria –Experts


24th February 2020


Stakeholders, including child rights activists, sociologists, lawyers and clerics have identified major factors behind the rising cases of incest in the country.

Some of the stakeholders across the states identified lack of traditional family values, moral decadence, broken homes, emotional imbalance, shift in family roles due to poverty and ignorance among others.

In Ibadan, Mrs Foluso Adigun, immediate past President of Women Connected By Purpose (WCBP) said more incest cases were being recorded because of lack of family values and communal living.

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She noted that economic hardship and the shift in the role of women were also contributory factors because fewer women now stay at home and watch over their children.

Adigun said infiltration of western influences and negative attitudes also promotes incest in the society.

Dr. Sharon Omotosho, coordinator, Women Research and Documentation Centre at the University of Ibadan, said parents must be held responsible for the abuse of their wards.

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Seh said all hands must be on deck to stop incest because no member of the society is exempted from the scourge.

For Pastor Yemisi Ayorinde, poverty and lack of knowledge were major factors that promote incest: “Some mothers due to poverty and ignorance tell their daughters to keep quiet when they are being abused by their fathers.”

A lawyer, Mrs Olusayo Adeleye, said that incest is considered a criminal act in the country and relevant laws must be enforced to deter potential offenders.

“The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015 in Section 25, criminalises incest and prescribes a minimum term of 10 years imprisonment without an option of fine.

Adeleye who quoted various laws against incest, described it as a sexual act that can be said to be against the law of nature.


The rights activist urged the government to pass the Sexual Offences Act (Amendment) Bill 2019 in order to protect minors and under aged against sexual exploitation.

Mr Sunday Bamidele, a sociologist, identified broken home as the top ranking reason for incestuous relationships in the Nigerian society.

He told NAN in Akure that easy access to pornography through the internet could encourage siblings, who most of the times are left alone to engage in sexual intercourse

Olamide Falana, the Executive Director of Girls to Women Research and Development Centre, attributed lack of self-control on the part of parents, families and guardians for the “extreme increase” in the cases of incest in the society.

In Makurdi, some of the residents blamed the growing incestuous relations amongst families and close relatives on uncontrollable sex drives and demonic motives.

A Psychologist with the Benue State University (BSU), Mr David Denen, regretted that the habit was growing like a “wild fire in the wilderness”.

He said victims of incest turned to suffer depression as they live with the act throughout their lives without sharing such experiences with others.

Also, Magdalene Inarigu, a lawyer, said incest was a crime in Nigeria by virtue of section 3(1)(b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act.

She said in Benue, those caught for such acts were handed over to the police for possible prosecution by the law courts in line with the relevant laws.

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