Customary Law Rule of Primogeniture and Its Discriminating Effects on Women’s Inheritance Right in Nigeria: A Call for Reformation

ABSTRACT
TOPIC: Customary law rule of primogeniture and its discriminating effects on women’s inheritance right in Nigeria: A call for reformation.
BODY:
The patterns of inheritance particularly intestate estate under the customary law in Nigeria , have almost as many variations as there are ethnic groups in the country and many of the variations are discriminatory in practice. The perception of many societies in Nigeria that women are inferior to men adversely affects women’s right of inheritance under customary law .
Rather than trying to cover all patters of succession, this study examine the customary law of inheritance of the IGBO, BENIN, and YORUBA people as they relate to women and compare same to the Islamic laws .
Customary law governs inheritance of the estate of Nigerians who marry under the customary law unless where there is a valid will. Content analysis was used for the comparative study. Customary law of inheritance of the tribes covered were considered vis a vis the provisions of Islamic laws.
The study also makes inter alia, the following recommendations:
[a]All states should enact laws to abolish discriminatory customary laws of inheritance.
[b]All states should enact laws on inheritance to give women the right to inherit portions of the estates of their husbands and parents.
METHODOLOGY:
The research is both doctrinal and comparative. It is divided into five chapters. Chapter one gives a general introduction of the topic taking into consideration customary law.
Chapter two talks about the Islamic law of inheritance, while chapter three deals on the customary law of inheritance of the IGBO,BENIN and YORUBA people in Nigeria.
In chapter four, analysis is made on the judicial instance i.e the concept of the igiogbe and the current position of the court with regards to the right of women to inherit properties.
Finally, chapter five shall attempt to proffer possible solutions and recommendations for feasible reform of the law with regards to inheritance.
SOURCES:
Many scholars have written on customary laws of inheritance of the Igbo, Benin and Yoruba people of Nigeria .These writings form one or two chapters in their books on customary laws generally, family law and land law. Some of the scholars whose books are sources for this thesis are:Okoro Nwakamma, Okany Martin Chukwuka ,Oye And Ola Oba, Nwabueze B.O,Nwogugu E.I,Yakubu Musa,Harvey Brian W, And Osanwowa Usu.
However, some of the books sourced include:
Aighovo o.,’supreme court policy in relation to customary law cases in GUOBADIA and ADEKUNLE [eds].
FREEMAN MARSHA A,’Women Development and justice: using international convention on women’s right in kerr [ed] ours BY Right: Women’s Rights As Human Rights [zed Books USA,1993].
ALI-KHAN MOHAMMED MUSTAPHA ,Islamic law of inheritance ;A new approach [kitab Bhavan india 2000]
Benin traditional council, A handbook on some Benin customs and usages [EWEKA Court the palace Benin city Nigeria 1996]
EZEILO JOY, Laws and practices relating to women’s inheritance Rights in Nigeria [women aid collective [wacol] Nigeria 2000]
KASUMU SALACUSE, Nigeria family law [Butterworth &co London 1966].
NWAKWO OBIAGELI, inheritance Rights of women in Africa [fourth dimension pub co.ltd Nigeria 2001]
Obi S.N.C, The Ibo law of property (Butterworth & Co London 1963
OSAMUEDE EFE SOPHIA, The Igiogbe controversies in the Benin customary law of succession: judicial review praise comm. Press Nigeria 2003)
T.O ELIAS, The nature of African customary law [1956]
JUSTICE A P ANYEBE Customary law: ‘The war without arms’ university of Benin law journal.
Aims and Objectives
Generally, most Nigerians both literates and illiterates are ignorant of the laws that regulate their private lives .One area of law which many Nigerians are ignorant of or for which they have shown apathy is the law of inheritance. In the discussion of the customary law of inheritance of the ethnic groups covered by this research, attention is focused on the discriminatory aspect of the laws i.e. discriminations that exist on the type of property to be inherited and the persons who are entitled to inherit such property.
One of the objectives of the study is to examine the status of women vis a vis their right of inheritance under customary law and Islamic laws.
The second purpose of the study is to assess the adequacy or otherwise of the laws relating to women’s right of inheritance under the customary laws of inheritance of the Igbo , Benin and Yoruba peoples of Nigeria.
CONCLUSION
It is an indisputable fact that one of the characteristics of customary law is that it is dynamic. It changes with time to meet the social and economic changes of the society .It is regrettable that the customary laws of inheritance which deny women the right the property of their husbands and fathers have remained static. Consequently, these discriminatory and obsolete laws are still operating despite the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria which guarantees freedom from discrimination based on sex and the international conventions which prohibits discrimination against women which Nigeria has signed. 
In this connection, it is high time, these customary laws are reformed to give women the right of inheritance so as to improve the economic and social status of women.


TABLE OF CONTENT
TITLE PAGE………………………………..…………………………………………………..i
CERTIFICATION ii
DEDICATION iii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT iv
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS vi
TABLE OF CASES vii
TABLE OF STATUTES ix
TABLE OF TREATIES xi
TABLE OF CONTENT xii
ABSTRACT xiv

CHAPTER ONE 1
GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 INTRODUCTION 1
1.2 WHAT IS CUSTOMARY LAW 4
1.3 VALIDITY OF CUSTOMARY LAW 7

CHAPTER TWO 14
ISLAMIC LAW OF INHERITANCE 14
2.0 INTRODUCTION 14
2.1 INHERITANCE DURING THE PRE ISLAMIC PERIOD 14
2.2 ISLAMIC RULES OF INHERITANCE 16
2.3 INEQUALITY OF SHARES OF WOMEN AND MEN 19

CHAPTER THREE 25
CUSTOMARY LAW OF INHERITANCE OF IGBO, BENIN AND YORUBA PEOPLE OF NIGERIA 25
3.0 INTRODUCTION 25
3.1 IGBO CUSTOMARY LAW OF INHERITANCE 26
3.2. TYPES OF PROPERTY TO BE INHERITED AND PERSONS WHO CAN INHERIT 28
3.3 DISTRIBUTION OF PROPERTY AND ORDER OF PRIORITY OF INHERITANCE AMOUNG RELATIONS 35
3.4. THE BENIN CUSTOMARY LAW OF INHERITANCE 37
3.5 RULES OF INHERITANCE UNDER THE BENIN CUSTOMARY LAW. 40
3.6 YORUBA CUSTOMARY LAW OF INHERITANCE 42
3.7 METHOD OF DISTRIBUTION OF PROPERTY 46

CHAPTER FOUR 52
JUDICIAL STANCE 52
4.1 JUDICIAL APPROACH TO WOMENS RIGHT 52
4.2 CONCEPT OF THE IGIOGBE 53
4.3 THE CURRENT POSITION OF THE COURT 58

CHAPTER FIVE 63
5.0 GENERAL CONCLUSION 63
5.1 SUMMARY 63
5.2 FINDINGS 65
5.3 REASONS WHY AGGRIEVED WOMEN CANNOT FIGHT BACK. 69
5.4 RECOMMENDATION 70
BIBLIOGRAPHY 78





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APA

Omoigui, T. (2018). Customary Law Rule of Primogeniture and Its Discriminating Effects on Women’s Inheritance Right in Nigeria: A Call for Reformation. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/customary-law-rule-of-primogeniture-and-its-discriminating-effects-on-women-rsquo-s-inheritance-right-in-nigeria-a-call-for-reformation-2335

MLA 8th

Omoigui, Thompson "Customary Law Rule of Primogeniture and Its Discriminating Effects on Women’s Inheritance Right in Nigeria: A Call for Reformation" Afribary. Afribary, 29 Jan. 2018, https://afribary.com/works/customary-law-rule-of-primogeniture-and-its-discriminating-effects-on-women-rsquo-s-inheritance-right-in-nigeria-a-call-for-reformation-2335. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

MLA7

Omoigui, Thompson . "Customary Law Rule of Primogeniture and Its Discriminating Effects on Women’s Inheritance Right in Nigeria: A Call for Reformation". Afribary, Afribary, 29 Jan. 2018. Web. 18 Jul. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/customary-law-rule-of-primogeniture-and-its-discriminating-effects-on-women-rsquo-s-inheritance-right-in-nigeria-a-call-for-reformation-2335 >.

Chicago

Omoigui, Thompson . "Customary Law Rule of Primogeniture and Its Discriminating Effects on Women’s Inheritance Right in Nigeria: A Call for Reformation" Afribary (2018). Accessed July 18, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/customary-law-rule-of-primogeniture-and-its-discriminating-effects-on-women-rsquo-s-inheritance-right-in-nigeria-a-call-for-reformation-2335

Document Details
By: Thompson Omoigui Field: Law Type: Thesis 96 PAGES (21694 WORDS) (doc)