There are a lot of customs that prohibit the inheritance of a man's property by his daughter, and some are prevalent in the Igbo tribe. In this article, we are going to consider and examine some of these customs, and cases where the court has pronounced decision on similar issues.
1. Where a female child has been born out of wedlock, she will not be allowed to inherit her late father's property:
In Igbo land, if a female child is born outside a lawful marriage, she will not be allowed to share from the inheritance of her late father. In the case of Ukeje v Ukeje, Mrs Gladys Ukeje instituted an action against her step mother and step brother for refusing to allow her share in the administration of her late father's estate. The Supreme Court held that the Igbo Customary law which excludes female children from being eligible to inherit their late father's estate is unconstitutional.
The Igbo Customary law was declared to be void as it was contrary to Section 42 of the Nigerian Constitution which provides that no citizen of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstances of his birth.
2. Where a female child is married, she can only inherit the property of her husband and not her father:
The native law and custom of the Onitsha people prevents married women from sharing in the inheritance of their late father. In the case of Asika v Atuanya, the sons of the deceased prevented their sisters from sharing in the inheritance of their father, despite the provisions of the will stating that the property be shared equally among the siblings.
The decision of the court was that the custom in question being repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience contravenes the Nigerian Constitution, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the African Charter on Human Rights.
What other customs like the ones above do you know about? Do state them in the comment section below.
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