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People Are Divided Over a Supreme Court Decision that Voids the Igbo Native Law that Disinherits Female Children

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People Are Divided Over a Supreme Court Decision that Voids the Igbo Native Law that Disinherits Female Children | BellaNaijaIt’s a story we’ve all heard before, and if we don’t know someone who’s experienced it, we know someone who knows someone who knows someone: a woman unable to inherit the property of her father solely because she’s a woman.

While not all Igbo women experience this, the truth remains that is the law and custom of the Igbo people, and so many among us have been affected by it.

But no more.

The Supreme Court, according to Vanguard, in 2016 voided the law through its decision in a landmark case.

The case, an appeal marked SC.224/2004 and filed by Lois Chituru Ukeje and her son, Enyinnaya Lazarus Ukeje, against her daughter Gladys Ada Ukeje, had first passed through the Lagos High Court and the Court of Appeal.

Gladys had sued both mother and son, seeking to be added among those to administer her deceased father’s estate. He had died intestate in 1981.

The High Court had found that she was the deceased daughter and was qualified to inherit his estate. Upon appeal by the mother and son, the Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court’s ruling. And the Supreme Court did the same, saying:

No matter the circumstances of the birth of a female child, such a child is entitled to an inheritance from her late father’s estate.

Consequently, the Igbo customary law, which disentitles a female child from partaking in the sharing of her deceased father’s estate is breach of Section 42(1) and (2) of the Constitution, a fundamental rights provision guaranteed to every Nigerian.

The said discriminatory customary law is void as it conflicts with Section 42(1) and (2) of the Constitution. In the light of all that I have been saying, the appeal is dismissed. In the spirit of reconciliation, parties are to bear their own costs

Folks, though, four years later, remain divided over the ruling. Some are finding it a welcome development, while others are saying customs and tradition shouldn’t be thrown away just like that.

Here’s what people have to say:

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