Opinion Paper

Religion, culture, and discrimination against persons with disabilities in Nigeria

Edwin Etieyibo, Odirin Omiegbe
African Journal of Disability | Vol 5, No 1 | a192 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v5i1.192 | © 2016 Edwin Etieyibo, Odirin Omiegbe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 April 2015 | Published: 31 October 2016

About the author(s)

Edwin Etieyibo, Department of Philosophy, School of Social Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Odirin Omiegbe, Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, Nigeria and Department of Administration and Policy Studies, Delta State University, Nigeria


Background: There is not a lot in the literature on disability in Nigeria concerning the role that religion, culture and beliefs play in sustaining discriminatory practices against persons with disabilities.
Objectives: Many of these practices are exclusionary in nature and unfair. They are either embedded in or sustained by religion, culture and beliefs about disability and persons with disabilities.
Methods: Drawing on various resources and research on disability, this paper looks at these practices in respect of these sustaining factors. Some of the discriminatory practices that constitute the main focus of the paper are the trafficking and killing of people with mental illness, oculocutaneous albinism and angular kyphosis, raping of women with mental illness and the employment of children with disabilities for alms-begging.
Results: The examination of these practices lends some significant weight and substance to the social model of disability, which construes disability in the context of oppression and the failure of social environments and structures to adjust to the needs and aspirations of people with disabilities.
Conclusion: Given the unfairness and wrongness of these practices they ought to be deplored. Moreover, the Nigerian government needs to push through legislation that targets cultural and religious practices which are discriminatory against persons with disabilities as well as undertake effective and appropriate measures aimed at protecting and advancing the interests of persons with disabilities.


Persons with disabilities; Nigeria; Disability; Religion; Belief; Discrimination


Total abstract views: 7875
Total article views: 77668


Crossref Citations

1. People with disabilities in the margins in Nigeria
Edwin Etieyibo, Odirin Omiegbe
Africa Review  vol: 13  issue: 3  first page: S17  year: 2021  
doi: 10.1080/09744053.2020.1812040