The Girl-child and Her Right OF Inheritance
From time immemorial, the female gender has faced a host of discrimination; deeming her inferior to the male. Her right to work, vote, education, roles she could assume in society, whether or not she could own properties or be allowed to inherit properties from her father have all been decided by a mainly patriarchal society.
Nigeria is no stranger to the relegation of women to the background; especially through customary law and practices. One of the most prominent is the right of the girl-child to inherit property.
In different parts of Nigeria, customs restrict or totally exclude women from inheriting property (especially landed property) from their husbands or parents. This is especially worse for widows, as they are often regarded as property themselves; “items” to be inherited by their brothers-in-law. Even the less derogatory customs tend to tie a woman’s right to inherit to whether or not she has a male child.
Female children can now inherit from their fathers and they cannot be discriminated against due to their gender!
This was the decision upheld by the Supreme Court of Justice in a Landmark judgment when it overruled and ousted the Igbo customary law that disqualified a female child from partaking in the estate of her deceased father. This is because the custom contravened the fundamental rights against discrimination as guaranteed in sections 42(1) and (2) of the Constitution.
Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour who read the final judgment held that “no matter the circumstances of the birth of a female child, such a child is entitled to an inheritance from the late father’s estate.
This is a victory for daughters everywhere!
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