In order to fully understand why these practices exist, we must look at the nature of the legal environment.
             Laws in Nigeria are intertwined with culture. The law encompasses our shared beliefs, values, traditions or outlooks of particular social populations. Due to the history of the Victorian era in the way, in which women were suppressed, many rationalize the oppression of women as a 'cultural norm'. The unequal treatment of women in Nigeria derive from traditional values that were based on system of cultural beliefs that viewed women as physically, psychologically and socially inferior to men.
                                                           The patriarchal Rule
              Patriarchy is characterized as an organization that men have ultimate control over the government including women's lives. Before colonial rule, women had parallel roles in society to their male counterparts. Nigeria's indigenous communities were run by dual sex political systems. Both female and male hierarchies  coexisted with their own leadership structure. However, after colonial rule, Nigerian ideologies began to shift as they were slowly suppressed by new hegemonic forces.Since colonial rule "took root in  the heyday of the Victorian era"( Iwobi 44),the British society was so deeply patriarchal that women were simply out of the picture. When the British colonized Nigeria, they gave their power to predominately male chiefs and elders, who were in charge of all state affairs. Since African societies are comprised of different tribes, cultures, customs and laws and many of the traditional customs were combined with European laws that were imposed by the British. This created a whole different set of rules to live by, which caused women to be marginalized and discriminated against.
                                                   The process of dethronement

                    In Nigeria, once a woman is married she attains a level of status in her society. She is "enthroned to a position in the community where she is recognized" ( Iwobi 53). She is often seen as better off than her unmarried counterparts. In many communities in Nigeria, upon her husband's death, the widow is stripped of status she had. Hence, customs such as sitting on the bare floor and forcing her to eat meals from cracked and very old plates are put into practice.   One can attribute this to the British system destroying the original infrastructure of the Nigerian society.