The creator did not leave human beings with the choice of
determining their gender. Yet, women have sufered immensely in various
aspects of life just because they are born females. This practice which has
existed from time immemorial has been stemmed in the western World.
However, most African Countries, which includes Nigeria, still engage in
discriminatory cultural practices against women. One of the ways this
manifest is the practice which precludes a woman from inheriting as a
daughter, her father’s property or as a wife, her husband’s property.
Widows or daughters whose deceased husbands or fathers are
subject to customary law are commonly disinherited. Although, various
laws, municipal and international, have been enacted to liberate women
and entitle them to partake in inheritance, these discriminatory cultural
practices continue to persist. The intervention of the courts as regards
customary inheritance rights of female children is commendable. Thus, a
female child is entitled to partake in the sharing of her deceased father’s
estate. In the landmark case of Anekwe v Nweke, the supreme court of
Nigeria condemned the outrageous custom of the Awka community that
disinherits a widow. Indubitably, the hopes of widows are not dashed.
Rather, there is a glimmer of hope. However, there are likely hindrances
on the full application of this decision in subsequent cases on widows’
inheritance rights that could be brought before the courts to determine.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF RESEARCH
This study seeks to examine the status of widows under customary
rules of inheritance in Nigeria.
Also, the purpose of this study is to sensitize its readers about the
laudable progress of the judiciary in the elimination of discriminatory
customary inheritance practices in Nigeria.
Furthermore, this study will expose to its readers the possible
limitations of the subsequent application of the Supreme Court’s decision
in Anekwe v Nweke.
Lastly, the aim of this study is to sensitize its readers on the need
for the collective efort of stakeholders in Nigeria to reform or abolish
discriminatory customary law inheritance practices.
This study will adopt an analytical and historical approach by stating
the various customary inheritance practices in Nigeria before judicial
intervention and will give recommendations for better implementation of
the court’s decision that accords inheritance rights to widows. To achieve
this, intensive research will be conducted and statutes, cases, various
textbooks of renowned authors and any such other materials that would
be relevant to this study would be referred to.
CHAPTER ONE: HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF CUSTOMARY LAW
OF INHERITANCE IN NIGERIA
1.1 Definition of terms
1.2 Meaning of Customary Law
1.3 Attributes of Customary Law
1.4 Validity test for customary law
1.5 The interface between customary law and the constitution
CHAPTER TWO: LAW OF SUCCESSION AND INHERITANCE IN
CHAPTER THREE: THE HISTORY OF CUSTOMARY LAW OF
INHERITANCE IN NIGERIA
3.1 Bini Customary Law of Inheritance
3.2 Yoruba Customary Law of Inheritance
3.3 Igbo Customary law of Inheritance
CHAPTER FOUR: REVIEW OF ANEKWE V NWEKE
4.1 A Review of Case Laws on Women’s Inheritance Rights prior to
4.2 Anekwe v Nweke
4.3 The future of widow’s inheritance rights in Nigeria
CHAPTER FIVE: RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION
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